US stocks ease early on, following Europe lower

Weak open on Wall Street after political crises in Portugal, Egypt rankle markets

Associated Press
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In this Friday, June 28, 2013 photo, trader John Panin, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stock futures are sliding along with global markets, Wednesday, July 3, 2013, as hotspots in Europe and the Middle East overshadow what are expected to be positive economic signs at home. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are getting off to a weak start on Wall Street, following European markets lower as Portugal's government neared collapse.

The price of oil spiked above $100 a barrel for the first time since September as a showdown between Egypt's president and military approached a deadline.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,913 in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down five points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,608.

The Nasdaq composite fell five points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,428.

U.S. markets will close at 1 p.m. ahead of the July 4th holiday.

Portugal's stock index plunged 6 percent after the country's foreign minister resigned, further undermining the government and its commitment to an austerity program.

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