Feb. 25 - Summary of business headlines: U.S. stocks turn lower on Italy election fears; Goldman job cuts- sources; Barnes and Noble chairman wants his stores back; Lowe's stock falls on margin concerns. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks stumbled on Monday - the S&P 500 declining more than one percent - with banks and other financial stocks among the worst performers. The key worry: exposure to Italy's massive debt. There are concerns about gridlock after unclear results in Italy's election Monday - and the impact of a potentially divided government on the euro-zone crisis. Michael Gayed, chief investment strategist at Pension Partners, sees trouble ahead for the U.S. markets: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL GAYED, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, PENSION PARTNERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "These big moves are actually not consistent with how bull markets occur. Bull markets are not characterized by extreme ups they are characterized by under reactions, by gradual moves. The fact that over the last 2 or 3 weeks there has been gradual weakness in overseas markets, with these kind of big swings, suggests that maybe we're in some kind of changing corrective environment." Reuters has learned that Goldman Sachs plans to begin a fresh round of job cuts as early as this week. Sources familiar with the matter say its equities trading business is bracing for bigger cuts than fixed income trading. Goldman has already laid off 3,300 employees or 9 percent of its workforce over the last 2 years. The Chairman of Barnes and Noble wants his stores back. Leonard Riggio has offered to buy the bookseller's declining retail business, which would leave it to focus on its more promising Nook e-reader and college bookstores. Shares of Barnes and Noble jumped on the news. Shares of Lowe's were lower. The company reported stronger than expected quarterly results but its margin forecast disappointed many on Wall Street. Taking a look at the closing numbers: a triple digit loss for the dow, and red arrows across the board for the US major indexes. But in Europe, although the markets closed off their session highs on concerns about the Italian election, they still managed modest gains.