Stocks Open Lower, China Data Weighs

U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as caution prevailed following a surprise drop in Chinese exports in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average latey was down 36.19 points, or 0.22%, to 16,416.53. The S&P 500 was off 0.87 points, or 0.05%, at 1,877.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 2.53 points, or 0.06%, lat 4,338.75.

Chinese exports sank 18.1% from a year earlier in February, much lower than the 5% increase that was expected by economists, and following a healthy 10.6% expansion in January.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD) on Monday reported a bigger-than-expected drop in comparable global sales at established restaurants for February, hurt by competition and bad weather that battered U.S. sales. Worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0.3 percent last month.

Bouygues SA (EN), seeking to preempt antitrust concerns over its proposed wireless merger with Vivendi SA’s (VIV) SFR, is in talks to sell spectrum and its network to Iliad SA (ILD) for as much as 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

AT&T (T) is cutting prices on its wireless plans for the second time this year. The cut, effective Sunday, lowers the monthly cost of a plan offering unlimited calls and texts on one smartphone, along with two gigabytes’ worth of Internet use, by $15, a drop of 19%.

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