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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stocks end lower amid eurozone jitters (ext)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks came off morning lows but still ended mostly lower Monday following a sell-off in European markets, as investors worried about a possible bailout for Portugal.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) closed down 37 points, or 0.3%. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip index dropped 100 points. The S&P 500 (SPX) shed 2 points, or 0.1%. After spending most of the session in the red, the Nasdaq (COMP) managed to turn higher in the afternoon. The tech heavy index added 5 points, or 0.2%.

"There's a lot of anxiety in the marketplace, with the focus on what's happening overseas," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.

Concerns over European debt problems resurfaced as Germany, France and other eurozone countries pressured Portugal to take a bailout to ease its massive debt crisis.

McCain added that the slump could also be part of a small pullback investors have been anticipating following six consecutive weeks of gains.

"We've had a series of very good weeks and now that we're into January, the market is vulnerable to a pullback for the short-term," McCain said.

Meanwhile, investors digested of a slew of corporate merger deals and geared up for the start of fourth-quarter corporate results.

The government's latest reading on the labor market also dragged markets lower. The U.S. economy added slightly fewer jobs in December than expected, but the unemployment rate edged lower than economists had anticipated.

That disappointment over the jobs number may continue to trickle into trading this week, said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets.

"There's still an air of caution after the payroll data on Friday," Jones said. "The market had factored in a good number, so anything less than expected is always going to be a disappointment, and shows what a problem U.S. employment really still is going forward."

The dollar lost ground against the euro, the British pound, and the Japanese yen.

Oil for February delivery edged up $1.22 to settle at $89.25 a barrel.

Gold futures for February delivery rose $5.20 to settle at $1,374.10 an ounce.

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