U.S. Stocks Sink at Open

Stocks in New York begin the week lower following dismal stock performances in Asia and Europe. The selloff has the Dow industrials back around the 10,000 level.
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Updated from 8:58 a.m. EDT

U.S. stocks sold off at the open Monday, as it became apparent that the credit crisis had spread beyond America into Europe and Asia.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 209 points to 10,115, and the

S&P 500

gave back 26 points to 1073. The

Nasdaq

dropped 53 points to 1895.

In a sign of a

global financial crunch

, leaders from France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. met Saturday and agreed to coordinate efforts to prevent failures in Europe's financial system.

A scramble ensued to help troubled institutions. Germany rescued lending company

Hypo Real Estate

, and France's

BNP Paribas

said it would take over Benelux bank

Fortis NV

. Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced that Germany would guarantee all of its private bank deposits. On Monday, Denmark followed suit.

Back in the U.S.,

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

said it intended to go ahead with its

purchase of Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

. Wells Fargo said an appeals court vacated a ruling that extended an exclusivity agreement between

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and Wachovia.

On Monday, analysts at both Keefe Bruyette and Friedman Billings upgraded Wells Fargo to market perform from underperform.

Meanwhile,

The Wall Street Journal

said that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would appoint adviser

Neel Kashkari

to supervise the $700 billion bailout program for the financial system. Paulson's proposal passed the House of Representatives and was signed by President Bush on Friday.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

announced it would modify about 400,000 mortgages to help borrowers who had taken out loans from

Countrywide Financial

, which BofA acquired on July 1.

Insurance company

Hartford Financial

(HIG) - Get Report

said it garnered a $2.5 billion investment from

Allianz

, is reducing its dividend and will register a third-quarter loss.

Outside the financials,

Reuters

reported that

ImClone

(IMCL)

agreed to a merger with

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

.

Among technology stocks,

online auctioneer eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

said it would be cutting its staff by 10% and would buy online payment processor Bill Me Later.

In the commodities space, the price of crude oil was down $2.95 to $90.93 a barrel, and gold was climbing $29.80 to $863 an ounce.

Longer-term U.S. Treasury securities were climbing in price. The 10-year was up 24/32 to yield 3.51%, and the 30-year was climbing 1-20/32, yielding 4%.

Overseas markets were broadly falling. The FTSE in London and the Dax in Frankfurt were each down more than 5.8%.

Asian exchanges

, including Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, closed on the downside.