NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell in the first hour of trading Monday after a weak consumer spending report. European markets were stable after France endorsed Greece’s efforts to ease the terms of its financial rescue program.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,082 as of 10:22 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 shed 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,985. The Nasdaq composite fell 45 points, or 1 percent, to 4,589.
DROP IN SHOPPING: U.S. consumer spending edged lower in December as vehicle sales slowed and more Americans chose to save rather than spend. The Commerce Department said spending fell 0.3 percent last month after rising 0.5 percent in November.
OIL: U.S. benchmark crude edged down 15 cents to $48.07 a barrel. The price jumped Friday on signs American oil production is slowing. U.S. companies are under pressure to curtail drilling as prices fall to a level that makes some production unprofitable. Prices have fallen nearly 60 percent since June as global supplies grew faster than demand.
EXXON BEATS: Exxon Mobil rose 95 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $88.42 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts. The sharp drop in oil prices helped push earnings per share down 21 percent. Earnings would have dropped more if not for lower taxes, a favorable ruling in a dispute with Venezuela, and strength in the company’s chemical business. The energy giant is the second-largest company in the S&P 500 index after Apple.
ENERGY BOOST: Energy companies rose 1 percent, the biggest gain among the 10 sectors in the S&P 500. Eight of the 10 sectors fell.
EUROPE: Germany’s DAX edged up 0.1 percent, France’s CAC-40 fell 0.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent.
CHINESE MANUFACTURING: Two reports suggested manufacturing weakened in the world’s second-largest economy in January. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers’ index fell to a 28-month low. A separate index by HSBC edged up but still indicated manufacturing was contracting.
Both reports blamed weak demand in China and abroad. Analysts said they expect Beijing to inject more credit into the country’s economy or launch other stimulus measures.
ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index gave up 2.6 percent and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.2 percent.
GREEK DEBT: European traders were focused on Greece’s debt issues after the country’s new finance minister won initial support from Paris for his effort to renegotiate the terms of the country’s financial bailout. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Sunday that while his government wouldn’t support canceling the debt, it was willing to consider a new time frame or terms. That, for now, is easing worries that Greece’s new government might eventually leave the euro currency block.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 117.20 yen from Friday’s 117.43 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1355 from $1.1285.
BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.67 percent.