Stocks Drop Sharply on Spain Worries

Stocks fell sharply in early trading on Monday, tracking a selloff in global markets as a second region in Spain appeared ready to ask the central government for a bailout. The Dow Jones industrial average lately dropped 232.04 points, or 1.81 percent, to 12,590.53. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 24.35 points, or 1.79 percent, to 1,338.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 71.38 points, or 2.44 percent, to 2,853.92.

The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.

McDonald’s Corp. says it net income slipped 4 percent in the second quarter as a result of unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates. Revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations as the fast-food chain cited a slowing global economy.  It earned $1.35 billion, or $1.32 per share, in the period ended June 30. That compares with $1.4 billion, or $1.35 per share, in the year-ago period. Total revenue for the quarter was $6.92 billion, up from $6.91 billion a year ago.

Chinese offshore oil and gas giant CNOOC Ltd. said Monday it has agreed to buy Canadian producer Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion in China’s biggest-ever overseas energy acquisition. The offer of $27.50 a share is a premium of 60 percent to Nexen’s closing price Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Halliburton Co (HAL) posted a quarterly profit on Monday that topped Wall Street forecasts, helped by higher drilling activity outside North America, lifting the company’s shares in premarket trading.

Apple Inc (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co began the latest round of their long-running global patent war on Monday as an Australian judge started hearing evidence for an anticipated three-month long trial.

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