Stocks under pressure from oil prices, China rates -

Stocks under pressure from oil prices, China rates

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks edged lower in early trading Tuesday following a rate increase in China and new developments in Europe's debt crisis.
   Markets slipped around the world after China raised a key lending rate and the rating agency Moody's lowered Portugal's credit rating.
   Crude oil prices are trading around $108 a barrel as unrest in the Middle East continues to raise doubts about future supplies.
   The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,364. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 1 at 1,331. The Nasdaq composite is down 2 at 2,786.
   A survey from the Institute for Supply Management reported growth at service companies last month but at a slower rate than analysts were expecting.
   Among the most active stocks, National Semiconductor jumped 71 percent to $24.04. Texas Instruments Inc. said late Monday that it had agreed to buy the chip maker for $6.5 billion, or $25 a share.
   Apple Inc. slipped 1 percent. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. announced a rebalancing of the Nasdaq-100 Index next month that will cut Apple's weighting in the index from 20 percent to 12 percent. That will likely force some money managers to reduce their holdings.
   KB Home lost 9 percent. The homebuilder reported a first-quarter loss of $1.49 a share, far more than the 25 cents analysts were expecting.
   Later Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its March 15 meeting. The Fed's announcement after that meeting offered its most optimistic view of the U.S. economy since the recession ended. Fed policymakers said the recovery was on "firmer footing."
   Major stock indexes made slight gains on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average reached its highest closing price since June 5, 2008. Materials companies followed commodity prices higher. Futures contracts for corn, wheat, and sugar all rose more than 2 percent.
   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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