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Morning Market Roundup: EU Elections Destroy Markets, Oil Drops Below $100, AT&T Invests in Security

Morning Market Roundup: EU Elections Destroy Markets, Oil Drops Below $100, AT&T Invests in Security

Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

EU Elections: Renewed uncertainty over Europe's sprawling debt crisis following elections in Greece and France weighed on stock markets Monday, with the main exchange in Athens down a massive 8 percent at one stage.

Investors have been particularly spooked by the Sunday election in Greece, which resulted in a split Parliament with no party likely to be able to form a government. The two parties that governed as a coalition for the past six months were pummeled to the benefit of more extreme parties of the right and left. The socialist Pasok party suffered the biggest retreat. Its share of the vote collapsed from around 43 percent in the last election in 2009 to a little over 13 percent.

A period of uncertainty looms for the bailed-out country, which is in its fifth year of recession and has over half its youth out of work following big spending cuts and tax increases in return for crucial international bailout funds. If no government can be formed that can command a majority in Parliament, another general election within the next two months seems possible.

U.S. Futures: A roiling political landscape in Europe is sending U.S. stock futures lower, with the parliament now split in economically fragile Greece and the election of Socialist as president in France.

The election results are seen as a rejection of budget cuts intended to whittle away debt in a continent saddled with it.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 46 points to 12,911. The Standard & Poor's 500 is off 5.7 points to 1,356.80. The Nasdaq composite index is down 12 points to 2,613.50.

Oil: Oil slid below $98 a barrel Monday in Asia, bringing its fall over three trading days to about 7 percent, as a slowdown in U.S. hiring and election results in Europe dimmed expectations of stronger economic growth.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 86 cents to $97.63 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $4.05 to settle at $98.49 in New York on Friday. Brent crude for June delivery was down 73 cents at $112.45 per barrel in London.

Crude has slumped from $110 in February amid signs oil demand may be weaker than previously expected

AT&T: AT&T Inc. will start selling home automation and security services nationwide, taking on incumbents led by Tyco International Ltd.'s ADT.

Several of AT&T's competitors, including cable TV company Comcast Corp. and phone company Verizon Communications Inc., have ventured into the home automation and security field. Dallas-based AT&T is showing more ambition with its stated goal of selling nationwide, rather than sticking to its landline service territory, as Verizon does.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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