Updated from 9:46 a.m. EST
Stocks in New York opened in neutral as President Bush delivered his last press conference as commander in chief, and investors braced for the kickoff of fourth-quarter earnings reports.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was losing 51 points at 8547, and the
was off by 8 points at 881. The
was down 10 points at 1560.
The most recent jobs data and news of more layoffs across industries weighed on stocks Friday. For the week, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 4.8%; the S&P gave up 4.4%; and the Nasdaq retreated 3.7%.
But this week investors will focus on earnings as the first batch of fourth-quarter reports dribble in, starting with
after Monday's market close.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are expecting Alcoa to report a loss of 10 cents a share.
tempered expectations last week, shaking investor confidence. And Alcoa and
announced they would cut thousands of workers in an effort to better handle the economic downturn.
were in retreat early Monday on reports that the bank will announce record full-year losses next month.
Late Friday afternoon,
, senior counsel and a director at the bank, was resigning. The former Treasury Secretary has come under fire over the past two months for his role in encouraging the New York bank's foray into toxic debt that has laid waste to its balance sheet.
In possible further changes for the bank,
also reported that Citigroup and
are in talks about merging their brokerage businesses.
President-elect Barack Obama last week pledged accountability and transparency in a pitch for his administration's $800 billion economic stimulus plan, dubbed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. The president elect has also promised to better monitor the
second $350 billion
of the troubled asset relief fund (TARP) -- bailout money for the financial institutions - should lawmakers release it.
President Bush said Monday in his last press conference of his term that he has talked to Obama about the TARP money and would be willing to ask for it if the president elect needed it ready.
"He hasn't asked me to make the request yet, and I don't intend to make it unless he specifically asks me to make it," said President Bush.
Meanwhile, Mideast tensions, signs that OPEC supply restrictions are being implemented and the Gazprom-Ukraine gas dispute were outweighed by concerns that the economic downturn would continue to weigh on demand.
fell 17% last week, and started the new week on a downward course, declining $2.59 at $38.24 a barrel.
Gold was down $25.30 to $829.70 an ounce. Longer-dated Treasuries were recently falling; the 10-year note was declining 9/32 to yield 2.4%, and the 30-year was down 25/32, yielding 3.1%.
The dollar was stronger against the euro and pound, and weaker against the yen.
Overseas, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were both edging lower Monday, while Japan's Nikkei Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended with losses.
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