Opening Bell Report

The markets opened lower as the credit crunch continued to take its toll on the financial services sector. American International Group weighed on the Dow which fell 81 points to 12,100 while Nasdaq slipped 4 points to 2300.

On the upside

Shares of Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose after the Internet portal rejected a $44 billion by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Shares of Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and Banc of America (NYSE: BAC) edged higher on news that the two stocks will replace Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Altria Group (NYSE: MO) as components of the Dow Jones Industrial average, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

On the downside

American International Group (NYSE: AIG) found material weaknesses in its financial reporting and was likely to take charges against collateralized debt obligations.

Insurer and broker Brown & Brown (NYSE: BRO) posted lower profits that missed estimates due to a decline in policy renewals and lower premium rates.

Shares of Centene (NYSE: CNC) fell after analysts downgraded the managed-care programs provider. The company had posted higher profits that beat expectations on Friday.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 5 points to 693.

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