NEW YORK • Stocks are falling in early trading after embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down, raising concerns that protests in Egypt could intensify.
In a speech late Thursday, the Egyptian leader announced plans to transfer some powers to his vice president. But he retained his title and said he would not resign.
That signaled to investors that the crisis in Egypt is far from over. Many traders are worried that the political turmoil could spread to other countries or impact oil prices.
In economic news, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened in December.
In early trading Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 31 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,194. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 5, or 0.4 percent, at 1,317.
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