Wall Street opens mixed ahead of key economic data

Wall Street opened mixed Monday ahead of the release of housing data that could give investors a better sense of the U.S. economy's growth.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to release a report later Monday on February new home sales. Analysts expect a rise to 995,000 from 937,000 in January. The report comes off a better-than-expected jump in sales of existing homes that the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.

In corporate news, there was speculation Citigroup Inc. would lay off 15,000 workers and book a $1 billion (EUR750 million) restructuring charge under a proposed plan to cut costs, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The plan to reduce Citigroup's 327,000-person work force by 5 percent comes as revenue grew 7 percent last year while expenses jumped 15 percent.

In the first minutes of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 4.17, or 0.03 percent, to 12,476.84. The Dow secured its best week in four years last week, rising 370.60 points, reports AP.

Broader stock indicators were slightly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.33, or 0.02 percent, at 1,436.44, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.56, or 0.10 percent, 2,451.49.

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