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Two down days in a row for stocks!But first, the scoreboard:

Dow: -1.63
NASDAQ: -9.63
S&P 500: -3.99

And now the top stories:

  • It was a pretty quiet weekend for economic news. The biggest event came on Friday night, when Obama and the GOP agreed to a spending deal to keep the government open. Any hope for calm, however, in DC came to an abrupt end by Sunday, when Republicans promised to make a hike to the debt ceiling incredibly difficult.
  • On a similar theme, it’s official that PIMCO — which has been warning of US budget troubles — is now actively SHORT US Treasuries.
  • In Japan, things were very quiet. TEPCO surged limit up. The Nikkei fell a little bit, and then in the late evening in Japan, another big earthquake struck, and Nikkei futures dived.
  • Markets in Europe were generally lower. There wasn’t much news.
  • After some back and forth action in the early going in, US stocks entered the opening looking like there would be a solid rally. Silver touched $42 overnight after breaking $41 last night. Oil was weak all day, perhaps, though not obviously relating to Qaddafi ‘s talk of a roadmap to peace. Cocoa prices tanked today after Ivory Coast President Gbagbo was captured.
  • In terms of US corporate news, there were rumours of Facebook tying up with Baidu on a Chinese partnership, but by the end of the day that rumour was rebuked. Shares of rare earth company MolyCorp had a gigantic day after a JPMorgan upgrade, citing a huge spike in the underlying price of rare earth elemants.
  • There continued to be a ton of talk about the end of QE2. Morgan Stanley has been particularly vocal on the fact that this will be bad for stocks >
  • Earnings season officially kicks off after the bell with Alcoa.
  • Click here to see 25 reasons to be disgusted with the US economy >