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Stocks head lower as Spain seeks help for banks

Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

Specialist Christopher Trotta works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, June 25, 2012. U.S. stocks are sliding at the opening of trading, following global markets lower after Spain requested help for its struggling banks. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Europe's latest efforts to quell its financial crisis left investors exasperated, causing steep losses in stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 138 points to close Monday at 12,503. That's a loss of 1.1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 21 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,314. The Nasdaq lost 56 points, 1.9 percent, to 2,836.

In Europe, Spain formally asked for help to rescue the country's ailing banks. But its request left many questions unanswered, including how much it needs of the $125 billion loan package offered by other European governments. The uncertainty unsettled markets.

More than three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was below average at 3.3 billion.