NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks opened lower Wednesday after a failed German bond auction escalated fears about Europe's debt crisis.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 89 points, or 0.8%, at 11,405. The index has now fallen in four of the past five sessions, losing 5% over that span and is in negative territory for 2011.
was down 10 points, or 0.9%, at 1178. The
was down 18 points, or 0.7%, at 2503.
An unsuccessful attempt to sell German government bonds suggested that investors are demanding ever higher compensation for taking on risk in the eurozone. The government only sold €3.5 billion of the €6 billion in 10-year bonds earlier Wednesday. German sovereign debt is considered the safest haven relative to other bond markets in the eurozone. Lower yields in Germany indicate that the contagion may be spreading to the heart of Europe.
Nervousness stemming from the auction overshadowed Tuesday's news that the International Monetary Fund will provide eurozone countries a lifeline of sorts. Investors are looking skeptically at the IMF's latest plan to provide credit lines based on how much a country already puts into the IMF.
The European Central Bank stepped in Wednesday to buy Italian and Spanish bonds to support the region's government debt market. But the move provided little relief. Ten-year bonds in Italy were rising 2.3% and nearing the dangerous 7% threshold again. Spain's 10-year benchmark was up 1.5% at 6.7%.
London's FTSE was losing 0.48% but Germany's DAX was up 0.36%. Manufacturing in China may shrink by the most since March 2009, according to a preliminary purchasing manager's index for November. Overnight, Asian stocks fell following losses in the U.S. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.1%.
In the U.S., weekly jobless claims rose 2000 to 393,000, slightly higher than expected. Economists forecast claims to edge up to 390,000 after 388,000 in the prior week.
Durable goods orders fell 0.7%, better than the 1.5% drop forecast. However, as David Ader, strategist with CRT Capital Group noted, "With downward revisions and the core measures weaker than expected ... we chalk this up to a soft figure."
Personal income, up 0.4% in October, was better than the 0.3% gain forecast, while spending, up 0.1%, was down from the expected 0.3% rise.
At 9:55 a.m., the University of Michigan's final read on consumer sentiment for November is forecast to improve to 64.5 from a previous reading of 64.2. The index came in at 60.9 in October.
A surprise cut in the government's estimate for economic growth in the third quarter pressured stocks on Tuesday. Even with the
still suggesting that monetary easing could be in the books, as well as a help for Europe crisis from the IMF, the Dow was off 0.5% Tuesday.
The January crude oil contract was slipping $1.82 to trade at $96.19 a barrel. Gold for December delivery was down $11 to trade at $1691 an ounce.
The euro was losing 0.87 against the dollar, which compared to a basket of currencies, was up 0.65%. In the bond market, 10-year Treasuries were off 9/32, pushing the yield to 1.95%.
In corporate news,
was up 5.6% after its earnings beat estimates. The farming equipment maker posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.62 a share on revenue of $8.61 billion, up from analysts' expectations of $1.43 a share on revenue of $7.87 billion.
fell 3% even though its third-quarter revenue rose 99% to $75 million, beating estimates for $71 million. For the current quarter ending in January,
forecast an adjusted loss of 2 cents to 4 cents a share on revenue of $80 million to $84 million, compared to expectations for a loss of 2 cents a share on revenue of $82.3 million.
slipped 1%. The drug company will pay $950 million to resolve government allegations in the marketing of its painkiller Vioxx, the Justice Department said. Merck also will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
was up 3.9%. The television recording product maker
and delivered its first increase in total subscriptions in four years.
-- Written by Chao Deng in New York