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US stocks open lower as European leaders meet

Pallavi Gogoi, AP Business Writer

In an April 16, 2012 photo trader Richard Newman, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street headed for another day of losses, Wednesday May 23, 2012 with Dow Jones industrial futures down 0.5 percent to 12,410 and S&P 500 futures 0.6 percent lower at 1,306.50. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Markets are swooning in Europe and the U.S. as investors become increasingly skeptical that European leaders will succeed at jump-starting the region's economy and preventing a messy exit from the euro by Greece.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 164 points at 12,339 shortly before midday Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 17 points to 1,299. The Nasdaq composite fell 37 points to 2,802.

The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly two years as confidence in Europe's common currency continued to erode. Stock markets in Europe and commodities prices also fell sharply.

European leaders are meeting to try and find a way to keep the region's debt crisis from spiraling out of control. They're also seeking ways to promote jobs and growth.