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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 posts biggest drop since November on Europe

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 posts biggest drop since November on Europe

US stocks declined on Monday, with the S&P 500 registering its worst day since November, amid renewed concern that the eurozone crisis may intensify.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 130 points, or 0.93%, at 13,880. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 17 points, or 1.15%, at 1,496. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 48 points, or 1.51%, at 3,131.

Shares fell after Spanish and Italian bond yields increased, renewing worries about the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.

Spain's prime minister faced calls to resign over a corruption scandal, while a probe of alleged misconduct involving an Italian bank was expected to widen three weeks before a national election.

Adding to market pressure, data from the US Commerce Department showed overall factory orders for December were below economists' expectations.

McGraw-Hill lost 13.8% after news the US Justice Department plans to sue Standard & Poor's, a unit of McGraw-Hill, over its mortgage bond ratings.

Chevron and Wal-Mart were among the biggest drags on the Dow after analyst downgrades. Chevron dipped 1.1%, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc shed 1.2%.

On the positive side, shares of household products company Clorox increased 0.7% after quarterly profit beat analysts' estimates as a severe flu season boosted sales of disinfecting wipes.

In deal news, Oracle Corp agreed to acquire network equipment company Acme Packet Inc for $1.7 billion net of cash. Shares of Oracle were down 3% while Acme Packet shot up 23.7%.

Shares of Herbalife Ltd ended up 1.3%, recovering its losses ahead of the close, after the Federal Trade Commission corrected an erroneous statement that said the company was the subject of a law-enforcement probe.

In Asia, shares fell on Tuesday in morning trade bringing a recent rally to a halt amid political concerns in Spain and Italy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.7% to 133 as of 11:38 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 1.2% after closing yesterday at its highest level since April 2010.

South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.7%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.7% and Taiwan’s Taiex Index dropped 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.6% and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%.

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