Stocks Opened Lower amid Global Growth Concerns

U.S. stocks opened lower on Tuesday, amid simmering concerns that weakness in global growth will deepen. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 123.16 points, or 0.69%, to 17,613.84. The S&P 500 was off by 20.27 points, or 0.98%, to 2,045.86. The Nasdaq Composite was down 45.29 points, or 0.93%, to 4,846.50.

The trade deficit widened in February to a six-month high as imports increased more than exports, a sign that weakness overseas and the strong dollar may continue to weigh on U.S. economic growth. The trade gap increased 2.6% from January to a seasonally adjusted $47.06 billion, its highest level since August, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Oil traded near one-month lows on Tuesday after a surprise fall in gasoline demand in the United States. Brent crude, the global oil price benchmark, was down 27 cents at $37.42 (26 pounds) a barrel at 1238 GMT, close to a one-month low. U.S. futures fell by 28 cents to $35.42.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) said Tuesday it had positive results in a late-stage trial of Broaden, a treatment for psoriatic arthritis in adults. The company said a first Phase 3 trial of the drug met its primary endpoints.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) reported Tuesday fiscal third-quarter earnings that fell to $105.8 million, or 82 cents a share, from $133.8 million, or $1.05 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose to $1.85 billion from $1.73 billion.

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