Updated from 9:04 a.m. EST
Hit by announcements of significant job cuts at major financial firms and weakening earnings outlooks from several big retailers, stocks in New York opened with losses Monday.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was losing 73 points to 8425, and the
was lower by 9.7 points at 864. The
slipped 14 points to 1502.
Over the weekend, members of the Group of 20 finance ministers convened in Washington to try to prevent further economic decline. The meeting resulted in a decision not to raise barriers to trade for 2009, to delegate additional money to the International Monetary Fund and to set up regulatory bodies to detect risky investment.
Ahead of Monday's session, there were additional signs that companies were prepping for hard times.
announced Monday it would eliminate 50,000 jobs, or 20% of its employees. And various reports indicated
would be laying off thousands of workers in 2009.
Elsewhere in the financials, top managers at
were declining to take bonuses for 2008, accepting only their salaries.
Swiss bank UBS
said that in 2009 it will cease bonuses for its chairman. Other executives will suffer penalties if the company performs poorly.
applied with the Office of Thrift Supervision to become a savings and loan holding company and moved to buy a bank, moves that make it able to secure funding under the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Uncertainty was even hitting holiday package deliveries. Shipper
elected not to forecast the number of packages it would deliver on its peak shipping season and declined to forecast the number of seasonal workers it would hire.
In the automotive sector,
was getting ready to sell its 3% stake in
for $230 million.
Looking at corporate earnings, hardware store operator
saw profit decline year over year and cut its full-year earnings guidance. Fellow retailer
also announced reduced quarterly profit and suspended its share-buyback program.
As to economic data, New York's November Empire State index registered at negative 25.43, down from negative 24.62 a month ago. Economists were expecting a look of negative 26.10.
A poll by the National Association of Business Economists showed that respondents believe the U.S. has entered a recession and that the unemployment rate will hit 7.5%.
Switching to commodities, crude oil was up 44 cents to $57.48 a barrel. Gold was shedding $6.70 to $735.80 an ounce.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was adding 8/32 to yield 3.7%, and the 30-year was gaining 16/32, yielding 4.2%. The dollar was rising vs. the euro but weakening against the yen and pound.
Abroad, European exchanges such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were losing ground. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei ended the day higher, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed on the downside. The Japanese government also proclaimed that its economy had fallen into recession and may continue to shrink in the near term.