Stocks open sharply lower as US nears shutdown

By By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is down sharply in early trading as the U.S. federal government appears headed for a partial shutdown.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 150 points to 15,107 shortly after the stock market opened Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 15 points to 1,676. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 42 points to 3,739.

Investors are focused on the growing likelihood of a partial shutdown of the government on Tuesday unless Congress agrees to a new budget. There is little evidence of a thaw between the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives over a budget.

Even if that hurdle is cleared, the Congressional dispute is poised to continue into the middle of October as legislators debate raising the nation's borrowing limit.

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