By DANIEL WAGNER, Associated Press
U.S. stocks are trading modestly lower at midday as calm returns to the market after a spasm of fearful selling last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average opened at its lowest level since December Monday after a 275-point sell-off on Friday caused by grim economic signals, especially a dismal report on the U.S. labor market.
In Europe, bond investors appeared less concerned about the finances of Italy and Spain. Bond yields fell for both countries, which means decreased borrowing costs for them and a lower likelihood that they'll need to get bailed out like Greece and Portugal were.
The Dow is down 37 points at 12,081 shortly before noon. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down six at 1,272. The Nasdaq composite index is down 9 at 2,739.
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