Stocks Start Soft Staff
Posted: Mar 16, 2011 10:27 AM

NEW YORK—U.S. stocks opened lower as investors continued to eye Japan's nuclear crisis and increasing violence in Bahrain, while digesting the steepest monthly drop in housing starts in nearly 27 years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 57 points, or 0.5%, to 11798 in early trading, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index shed 4 points to 1278 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 9 to 2659. IBM led the Dow lower as it fell 2%, followed by General Electric, down 1.2%.