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U.S. stocks fell, erasing an early gain, amid concern over who will lead Italy out of its debt crisis after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a budget vote without an absolute majority.
Berlusconi won 308 votes in the 630-seat Chamber of Deputies, Speaker Gianfranco Fini said in Rome. By failing to muster a majority, he may face a confidence vote that will decide his fate. Yesterday, Berlusconi denied a report in Il Foglio that he is on the verge of resigning to make way for an Italian unity government with a budget-cutting mandate.
In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou said a national unity government will be named “soon” and told his ministers to get ready to resign, spokesman Elias Mosialos said today in Athens. Both state-run NET TV and To Vima newspaper said the new prime minister will be former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos, without saying how they got the information.
Dow 12,018.02 -50.37 -0.42%, Nasdaq 2,691.10 -4.15 -0.15%, S&P 500 1,257.90 -3.22 -0.26%
Financial stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reversed an earlier advance, falling 0.1 percent as a group. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Alcoa Inc. dropped at least 0.7 percent, pacing declines among the largest U.S. companies. Toll Brothers Inc. climbed 4.1 percent as the largest American luxury-home builder said revenue jumped 6 percent.
Leading video game developer Activision Blizzard adds 0.6% on the background of favorable comments to analysts on the sales of the new game Modern Warfare 3.
The pharmaceutical company Amylin Pharmaceuticals has collapsed by 17.9% on news of end of partnership with Eli Lilly & Co. Amylin will be responsible for developing the new drug Byetta and Lilly will pay a certain amount of revenue for the drug.
Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters went to minus 5.3% reported a decline of comparable sales for the third quarter by 7%.
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