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US Stocks Lower Early Monday           03/19 09:45

   A sharp loss for Facebook is helping to pull technology companies lower as 
U.S. stock indexes decline Monday morning.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- A sharp loss for Facebook is helping to pull technology 
companies lower as U.S. stock indexes decline Monday morning. The social media 
company is facing new criticism related to privacy issues following reports a 
data mining firm working for the Trump campaign improperly obtained and then 
kept data on tens of millions of users. The British pound is rising and 
European stocks are down after Britain and the European Union said they are 
getting closer to a deal that will complete Britain's departure from the EU.

   KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index slipped 21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,730 
as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 218 
points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,728. The Nasdaq composite gave up 86 points, or 
1.2 percent, to 7,395. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks 
declined 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,573.

   UNFRIENDED: Facebook said Friday that the data mining company Cambridge 
Analytica improperly obtained data on some of its users, and that it had 
suspended Cambridge while it investigates. The New York Times and the Guardian 
reported that Cambridge was able to tap the profiles of more than 50 million 
Facebook users without their permission. Facebook dropped as legislators in the 
U.S. and the U.K. criticized the company, which has also come under fire for 
its role in spreading Russian-linked propaganda during the 2016 election 

   Facebook sank $10.58, or 5.7 percent, to $174.41. That put the stock on pace 
for its biggest loss since November 2016.

   Other technology companies also struggled. Alphabet, Google's parent 
company, lost $25.50, or 2.2 percent, to $1,108.92 and Microsoft slid $1.22, or 
1.3 percent, to $93.38.

   BYE-BYE BRITAIN: Representatives of Britain and the European Union said they 
made progress on the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc. British envoy 
David Davis said important steps have been made in the last few days and he 
thinks EU leaders will back them in a meeting Thursday and Friday. Britain is 
scheduled to officially leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

   The pound rose to $1.4058 from $1.3938. The British FTSE 100 index fell 1.3 
percent while Germany's DAX fell 0.9 percent. France's CAC-40 was 0.5 percent 

   JUST ANOTHER MERGER MONDAY: Internet technology company CSRA rose 51 cents, 
or 1.3 percent, after CACI International offered to buy it for $44 a share in 
cash and stock, or about $7.2 billion. Defense contractor General Dynamics 
agreed to buy CSRA in February for $40.75 a share in cash, or about $6.8 
billion. General Dynamics said it's proceeding with that offer, suggesting it 
doesn't plan to raise its price.

   CACI fell $10.10, or 6.4 percent, to $147.35 and General Dynamics slipped 83 
cents to $221.91.

   KLA-Tencor, which makes equipment used in manufacturing semiconductors, said 
it will buy equipment maker for electronics manufacturer Orbotech. The deal 
values Orbotech at $38.86 a share in cash and stock, or $1.88 billion. Orbotech 
added $4.17, or 7 percent, to $64.07 and KLA-Tencor skidded $3.70, or 3.1 
percent, to $116.92.

   TRADE WORRIES: Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 
industrial and developing nations are meeting in Buenos Aires Monday and 
Tuesday as investors worry about increased tensions surrounding international 
trade. Earlier this month President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on imported 
steel and aluminum. The European Union, for example, has already published a 
list of American products it plans to tax if it is not exempted from the 
tariffs announced by Trump.

   BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 
to 2.86 percent from 2.85 percent.

   ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 23 cents to $62.11 a barrel in New York. 
Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 11 cents to $66.10 per 
barrel in London.

   ASIA: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.9 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 
less than 0.1 percent. Seoul's Kospi lost 0.8 percent.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 106.12 yen from 106.10 yen. The euro rose 
to $1.2320 from $1.2284.


   AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at . His work can be found at


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