Nov. 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM ET
By msnbc.com news services
U.S. stocks slipped at the start of trading Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average was lately down over 60 points.
Retailers are reporting quarterly earnings. Lowe's Cos. posted profits that were below Wall Street's estimates, pulled down by charges tied to store closings and unfinished projects. The home-improvement retailer's stock dropped on the news.
J.C. Penney Co.'s stock also fell after it reported a quarterly loss early Monday. The department store operator said its results were weighed down by restructuring costs and it lowered its earnings outlook for the rest of the year.
IBM was up nearly 1 percent after the investor Warren Buffett said his firm has been buying the company's stock this year. The purchases have given Berkshire Hathaway Inc. a stake of more than 5 percent in IBM. Berkshire will file a full quarterly update on its holdings Monday afternoon.
Major European markets were lower Monday. New governments are taking over in Greece and Italy, two countries under pressure in the European debt crisis. But plenty of challenges remain. Italy managed to sell five-year bonds to investors and raise $4.1 billion on Monday. But the 6.29 percent interest rate was the highest since 1997.
Stock indexes closed the week higher last Friday, as it appeared Greece and Italy were making steps toward getting their debt troubles under control. The Dow and the S&P 500 are now positive for the month. The Nasdaq is slightly lower.
No major economic reports are due out Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.