U.S. stocks pressured by Portugal downgrade, China's rate hike

13:53, July 07, 2011      

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U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday as concerns over European debt problems and China's tightening weighed on the market.

Moody's Investors Service slashed Portugal's long-term government bond ratings by four notches to junk territory on Tuesday, saying the risk is growing that Portugal will require a second round of official financing before it can return to the private market.

The downgrade once again rattled investors after worries about Greece had been allayed with the passage of its austerity plans, pulling stocks lower in Europe.

Also adding to the pressure, China raised its key interest rate on Wednesday for a third time this year in an effort to fight surging inflation.

When market closed, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 14.31 points, or 0.11 percent, to 12,555.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 1.64 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,336.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 4.15 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,821.62.

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