Lower Open As Sequester Begins

Automatic federal budget cuts began today after Congressional leaders failed to reach a compromise deal to avert the sequester. The markets opened lower with the Dow slipping 32 points to 14,022 while Nasdaq lost 14 points to 3146.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings fell for Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK) but the company expects Ugg boot sales to rise.

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) narrowed fourth quarter losses more than expected.

Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) widened fourth quarter losses but the results were better than expected.

On the downside

Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG) reported a significant loss for the year as it set aside funds to pay for selling inappropriate financial products to clients.

SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD) narrowed losses for the fourth quarter but cut its production forecast for 2013.

Fourth quarter earnings plunged for Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT) to fall far short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index lost 4 points to 1510.

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