- Associated Press - Friday, May 18, 2012

It looks like it will take more than Facebook’s initial public offering to push stocks up.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35 points at 12,408 in midday trading Friday. JPMorgan Chase and Coca-Cola were the biggest decliners, down 2 percent each.

The Nasdaq, where Facebook is trading, fell 21 at 2,792. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell four points to 1,301.

Trading in Facebook Inc. shares was delayed by about a half-hour from their planned 11 a.m. Eastern start. Just after noon, they were trading at $39.60, up 4.2 percent from their offering price of $38.

The declines were broad, despite the hoopla over Facebook’s IPO. About twice as many stocks fell as rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow has been on a prolonged slump over the past two weeks as traders saw an escalating risk that Greece could leave the euro. It has fallen 11 out of the past 12 days and is down 6 percent in May. The Dow hasn’t had a losing month since September.

The news out of Europe did little to encourage investors.

After an election in Greece that brought in political parties opposed to bailouts for the beleaguered country, the Fitch ratings agency dropped the nation to the lowest possible grade for a country not in default Thursday. Fitch said that if elections next month do not reverse the political trends in Greece, that the country’s departure from the euro “would be probable.”

Also, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded 16 Spanish banks late Thursday, three days after downgrading Italy’s, noting they are vulnerable to huge losses on government debt.

Representatives of the G-8 are meeting this weekend at Camp David, looking for assurances that leaders in Europe can contain damage if Greece leaves the euro.

European shares edged lower, following several days of big losses. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX lost 0.6 percent and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.1 percent.

In the U.S., shares of Salesforce.com jumped 9.5 percent after the maker of web-based business software reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its guidance for the year. Gap fell 3 percent despite higher guidance for the year.

Shares of Yahoo Inc. rose almost 5 percent after Dow Jones’ tech website AllThingsD.com reported that the web portal is close to a deal to sell a large part of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group. Many investors view the Alibaba stake as Yahoo’s most valuable asset.

Foot Locker Inc. rose 10 percent after its quarterly profit jumped 36 percent, sprinting past Wall Street predictions and setting a company record for quarterly earnings.

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