U.S. stocks extend their plunge in early trading, again following overseas markets

Wall Street extended its decline in early trading Monday, falling on nagging concerns about mortgage defaults and also following the lead of stock markets that tumbled abroad.

The Dow Jones industrials, which fell 4.2 percent last week including Tuesday's 416-point plunge, fell about 62 points to the 12,051 level in the opening minutes of trading.

Concerns about losses over soured loans by subprime lenders were again a factor in the selling on Wall Street. HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe's largest bank, said its 2006 earnings rose 5 percent but that it suffered $10.6 billion (EUR8.1 billion) on losses on bad loans from its U.S. subprime mortgage operations. Subprime lending involves mortgages to customers with poor credit ratings, reports AP.

Overseas markets continued their own decline, and that added to the gloom on U.S. exchanges. Japan's Nikkei stock average saw its biggest one-day drop since June.

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