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Updated from 9:07 a.m. EDT

Stocks in New York opened on a downbeat Monday as traders await a data release on July existing-home sales and considered the fate of several struggling financial-services companies.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

gave back 85 points to 11,543, and the

S&P 500

slipped 8.5 points at 1284. The


skidded 20 points to 2395.

Throughout last week, the major indices traded back and forth as oil-supply concerns, financial-sector worries and an undulating dollar left investors uncertain whether to buy or sell stocks.

On Friday, the markets closed with substantial daily gains following a report that troubled brokerage

Lehman Brothers


may have found a buyer in Korea Development Bank. Traders were also encouraged by statements from

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke that suggested the central bank would not be raising interest rates before the end of the year.

Before the new week's trading got underway, Korean financial regulators let some air out of the Lehman news, saying that Korea Development Bank should be careful when making such a risky purchase. Shares of Lehman were down 4.9%.

Elsewhere in the financials, Fitch Ratings said insurance company and Dow member



may be set for a credit-rating downgrade as the agency continues to assess its business.

Morgan Stanley also predicted that further writedowns stemming from the credit crunch and weakened earnings from the economic slowdowns would hurt the S&P 500's performance.

Among analyst actions,



could be in for a tough day after Citigroup cut its rating on the stock to sell from buy on worries that the company's resilience against FiOS technology will be hard to maintain.




agreed to buy the

Advanced Micro Devices'


digital TV segment for $192.8 million in cash.

In commodities, crude oil was up 1 cent to $114.60 a barrel, and the price of gasoline was at $3.68 a gallon, meaning it's now down 30 cents from a month ago. Gold was losing $5.90 to $827.60.

As for economic data, the National Association of Realtors will be releasing its existing home sales figures for July.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were gaining value. The 10-year was up 22/32 to yield 3.79%, and the 30-year was tacking on 1-10/32, yielding 4.39%. The dollar was softening against its major foreign competitors.

Overseas, European exchanges were mixed, while Asia posted gains. The FTSE in London was gaining substantially, and the Dax in Frankfurt was losing ground. Japan's Nikkei and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong were both trading higher.