Stocks reflect Italian uncertainty...Fed chairman on Capitol Hill


NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are worrying about the outcome of Italy's election and Monday, stocks had their worst drop in more than three months. The Dow fell 216 points to 13,784, its biggest drop since Nov. 7. The S&P 500 fell 28 points to 1,488 and the Nasdaq dropped 46 points to 3,116.

LONDON (AP) — Political uncertainty in Italy slammed markets hard today with investors fearful that Europe's debt crisis may be about to rear its head again. The dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen. Benchmark crude oil fell below $93 per barrel.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill today to give his semiannual report to the Senate Banking Committee. Lawmakers will likely question Bernanke about the future of the Fed's bond buying program, his views of the economy and his concerns about the budget impasse between Congress and the White House. He goes before the House Financial Services Committee tomorrow.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest Associated Press Economy Survey suggests the political standoff over the U.S. budget is slowing the U.S. economy more than any hesitance by Americans to spend freely. Many of the economists think consumer spending has slowed in response to higher tax burdens but will rebound later in the year. By contrast, they worry that the budget fights in Washington will persist for much of 2013 and drag on economic growth.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Credit reporting agency TransUnion says more Americans fell behind on their auto loan payments in the last three months of 2012, a time of the year when some borrowers' financial obligations temporarily take a backseat to spending on holiday shopping. Beyond the seasonal increase, the late-payment rate on auto loans declined on an annual basis and remained near the lowest point in more than a decade.

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