Stocks open lower as hope dims for Europe deal

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Stocks are opening lower as differences emerge between European officials struggling to craft a debt crisis deal ahead of this week’s leadership summit.

Traders hope European leaders will agree by Friday to link their budgets more closely. France and Germany have called on them to renegotiate Europe’s founding treaties to enforce greater fiscal discipline.

Hopes for a deal dimmed Wednesday when a German official said the governments appear unlikely to reach a deal this week. If the talks broke down, despairing traders would likely sell stocks quickly.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 50 points, or 0.4 percent, at 12,100 shortly after the market opened. The S&P 500 is down 6, or 0.5 percent, at 1,252. The Nasdaq is down 15, or 0.6 percent, at 2,635.