U.S. stocks stumbled Monday after a holiday week with markets mixed in Asia and lower in Europe.
After Black Friday's strong gains, investors focused on the delayed international help for Greece and worries that lawmakers in Washington would not be able to intervene in time to stop the "fiscal cliff."
The fiscal cliff is a series of federal spending cuts and tax increases totaling half a trillion dollars that, absent a bipartisan agreement, become law Jan. 1.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 70.23 points or 0.54 percent to 12,939.45.
The Nasdaq added a marginal 0.59 points or 0.02 percent to 2,967.44 and the Standard & Poor's 500 lost 6.44 points or 0.46 percent to 1,402.71.
The 10-year treasury note rose 9/32 to yield 1.664 percent.
On currency markets, the euro fell to $1.296 from Friday's $1.2975. The dollar fell to 82.17 yen from Friday's 82.40 yen.
Japan's Nikkei rose 1.8 percent, 166.42 points, to 9,388.94 while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index was up 0.55 percent to 21,861.81, a gain of 118.61 points.
In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 0.56 percent, 32.42, to 5,786.72.
The DAX 30 in Germany lost 0.23 percent, 17.10, to 7,292.03.
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