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US stocks ease early on, following Europe lower

July 3, 2013

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. (1700 GMT) 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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