Stocks Slide as Italy, Sequestration Hit

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Monday,  as investors fret over Italy’s election.  After an 81-point rise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 216.40 points, or 1.55%, to 13,784.17. The S&P 500 index shed 27.75 points, or 1.83%, to 1,487.85. The Nasdaq Composite lost 45.57 points, or 1.44%, to 3,116.25.

The centre-right coalition led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was leading in the race for the Italian Senate, according to updated projections from television stations after vote counting began on Monday. Polls from La 7, SkyTG24 and state television RAI put the coalition between Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party and the pro-devolution Northern League ahead in the overall national vote count.

A major Michigan landowner is suing Chesapeake Energy Corp and Encana Corp, alleging that the two energy giants colluded to rig bids for oil and gas rights in 2010.

Facing a Friday deadline, President Obama said Monday that Congress can avert sweeping across-the-board cut with “just a little bit of compromise,” as he sought to stick lawmakers with the blame if the budget ax falls.

With billions of dollars at stake, the trial to figure out how much more BP and other companies should pay for the nation’s worst offshore oil spill began Monday with the federal government saying the oil giant was mostly to blame for a disaster caused by putting profits ahead of safety.

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