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US stocks down early as Europe takes center stage

US stocks slipped Monday as the markets remained focused on the news in Europe. US stocks futures on the Dow fell 65 points to 12645 as optimism over Greek elections failed to dim worries over the eurozone's continuing debt issues.

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A broker puts on his tie after arriving at the Stock Exchange in Madrid Monday June 18, 2012. US stocks opened low Monday as focus remained locked on Europe, with Greek elections failing to damper the sour mood over the eurozone's continuing debt crisis.

Paul White/AP

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U.S. stocks futures slipped Monday with markets still focused on Europe, where an election in Greece provided only a brief boost in optimism over the continent's ability to withstand tenacious debt problems.

Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 65 points to 12,645. Standard & Poor's 500 futures gave up 6.5 points to 1,331 and Nasdaq futures fell 6.5 points to 2,557.50.

Central banks stood down Monday after the Greeks elected conservative leader Antonis Samaras, which reduces the odds that the country will exit the 17-country European Union financial block. Anxiety over a Greek exit was so pronounced that many expected a run on banks Monday if political parties opposing a fiscal bailout had won the election.

The broader scope of the financial burden facing the continent soon overshadowed whatever breathing room the election in Greece had offered, however.

On Monday, the cost at which Spain can borrow money reached levels seen only in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, the three European nations that have required massive bailouts.

The interest rate on Spain's 10-year bonds, an indicator of confidence in a nation's ability to pay off loans, hit 7.08 percent, a new high for the country since it joined the euro. Stocks fell 1.9 percent in Madrid, though markets were mixed across Europe.

Energy commodities, which can signal expectations of growth ahead, fell. Benchmark crude for July delivery slid $1 to $83.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In the U.S., Microsoft Corp. is expected to make a "major" announcement after the market closes.

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Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. spiked nearly 8 percent before the market opened on the anticipation that Microsoft will announce a strategic partnership with the bookseller.

There is a lot of housing data coming out this week as well.

The National Association of Home Builders issues its housing market index for June on Monday. Data on new homes will be released by the government Tuesday and on Thursday, the National Association of Realtors, counts up sales of existing homes for May.


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