Bank Concerns Weigh on Market Open

Continued fears regarding the state of Citigroup and Bank of America have the market down in early trading.
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Stocks in New York were lower out of the gate on Tuesday, as signs of the economic crises continued on a global basis and the President elect Barack Obama prepared to take the nation's reins.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was off by 84 at 8197, and the

S&P 500

was down 13 points at 837. The

Nasdaq

was giving up 18 points at 1532.

The president-elect will be sworn into office later Tuesday, taking the helm during one of the most severe economic downturns in the nation's history.

On Friday, stocks eked out a win, but for the week, the

Dow

lost 3.7%, while the S&P gave up 4.5% and the Nasdaq fell 2.7%. Multibillion-dollar losses and skepticism about banks' inability to function without more government aid kept pressure on the financial sector last week, and banks and automakers continued to announce measures to weather the economic storm on a global basis at the start of the new week.

On Monday, the

Royal Bank of Scotland

(RBS) - Get Report

forecast a $41.3 billion loss for 2008, and Britain announced a

second rescue plan

for the country's pained banks, raising concerns that the government might have to further nationalize some British financial institutions.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the government has increased its stake in RBS to almost 70%, but wouldn't say whether he believed the bank might eventually be fully nationalized.

Last Friday, both

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

reported multibillion dollar fourth-quarter losses, with the latter saying it will need more government help in order to digest the acquisitions of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.

BofA will cut as many as

4,000 jobs

in its capital markets unit as it consolidates its operations Merrill Lynch, according to the

Financial Times

.

Meanwhile, online broker

TD Ameritrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

said its first-quarter profit fell 23% and has cut its outlook for the year to adjust to the economic downturn.

Troubled U.S. automaker Chrysler has sold a

35% stake

to Italian automaker Fiat, in return not for cash, but access to Fiat's products and platforms. Fiat has a later option to expand its ownership to a majority stake.

As expected, Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota's founder, was named

president

of the Japanese automaker Tuesday "as it faces what has been said to be its worst crisis in a century." The automaker is forecasting a $1.69 billion operating loss, its first in 70 years, for the fiscal year ending March 31.

In commodities, oil was down $1.51, at $35, while gold was rising $19.10 to $859 an ounce.

Longer-dated Treasuries were recently falling; the 10-year note was recently down 1 10/32 to yield 2.5%, the 30-year was down 4 1.5/32, yielding 3.10%.

The dollar was stronger against the euro, pound and weaker against the yen.

Overseas, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were both edging higher after Japan's Nikkei Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended with losses.

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