U.S. stocks decline amid fiscal jitters; Dow Jones down 0.46%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday, as concerns over a potential slowdown of the U.S. job market coupled with worries over upcoming U.S. debt ceiling discussions weighed on investor confidence.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.46%, the S&P 500 index declined 0.44%, while the Nasdaq Composite index retreated 0.40%.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the economy added 155,000 jobs in December, slightly higher than forecasts for an increase of 150,000, but easing from an upwardly revised increase of 161,000 in November, suggesting that the recovery in the labor market may be slowing.

The data came one day after the minutes of the Federal Reserves' December policy meeting showed that some policymakers considered an earlier-than-expected end to the bank's quantitative easing program.

Investors also remained cautious over the longer term outlook in the U.S., with negotiations on raising the debt ceiling still to come in February.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as shares in Bank of America slipped 0.25% and JP Morgan dropped 0.46%, while Goldman Sachs and Citigroup declined 0.64% and 0.66% respectively.

Citigroup's Michael Corbat was said to have been meeting bank regulators in his first months as CEO, with hopes of bolstering relationships and finalize the bank's plan to return capital to shareholders.

Separately, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, a group of the world's top regulators and central bankers, on Sunday agreed to give banks four more years to build up cash reserves.

Meanwhile, Bank of America reached a USD10 billion settlement with Fannie Mae over mortgage repurchases.

In the Internet sector, Yahoo plummeted 1.46% after the company's shares were downgraded to market perform from outperform at Bernstein.

Elsewhere, Illumina dove 8.52% after Swiss group Roche said that its takeover bid is "off the table".

In addition, Illumina agreed to buy Verinata Health Inc. for USD350 million plus up to USD100 million in milestone payments through 2015.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.47%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.66%, Germany's DAX declined 0.55%, while Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.33%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched 0.01% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.83%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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