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Markets Recap: Earnings Drive Stocks Down

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Markets closed down today:

▼ Dow: -0.28 percent

▼ Nasdaq: -0.19 percent

▼ S&P: -0.16 percent

Precious metals:

▲ Gold: up +0.21 percent to $1,587.33 an ounce

▲ Silver: up +0.91 percent to settle at $27.33

Commodities:

▲ Oil: +1.84 percent

Markets were down because:

Edgy investors sent stocks lower Monday on Wall Street ahead of U.S. corporate earnings reports and amid more signs of instability in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 36.18 points at 12,736.29. It was the Dow's third straight day of declines.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.22 points to 1,352.46 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 5.56 points to 2,931.77. Health care stocks rose the most, while stocks of materials companies fell the most.

Investors were also spooked Monday by news from Europe, where Spain's borrowing costs rose as finance ministers from the euro countries gathered in Brussels to finalize a rescue package for Spain's banks.

The interest rate on Spain's 10-year government bond rose to 7 percent. Greece, Ireland and Portugal all asked for help from their international lenders when their own borrowing costs rose that high.

In Greece, a new three-party coalition government won a vote of confidence in parliament early Monday, ending a period of uncertainty that led to two elections in less than two months. Greece is in its fifth year of recession and has survived for two years on international rescue loans.

Spain is in better shape financially, and can afford the high rates for a few weeks at least. However, a long-term solution is badly needed to prevent the nation, which has an unemployment rate near 25 percent, from defaulting.

A pair of acquisitions were announced Monday. The nation's second largest health insurer, WellPoint Inc., is paying $4.46 billion to acquire Amerigroup Corp., a provider of Medicaid coverage provider.

With the acquisition, Wellpoint seeks to become a major player in state and federally funded programs like Medicaid. Its stock rose $2.04, or 3.4 percent, to $61.95. Amerigroup soared $24.45, or 38 percent, to $88.79.

Also on Monday, the world's biggest soup maker, Campbell Soup Co., said it will buy natural foods maker Bolthouse Farms in a $1.55 billion cash deal. Campbell stock fell 27 cents, or about 1 percent, to $32.72.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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