US STOCKS-Wall St dips after Dow, S&P touch records; energy drags

Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:55am EST
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* Existing home sales data on tap

* Goldman cuts Boeing to sell rating

* Valeant, Salix agree to merger deal

* Indexes off: Dow 0.39 pct, S&P 0.25 pct, Nasdaq 0.05 pct (Updates to market open)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower in early trading Monday amid weakness in oil prices, after the Dow and S&P closed at records last week in the wake of a conditional agreement by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece's bailout.

Greece will present its economic reform plans on Monday to seal the euro zone financial lifeline, but the government drew criticism from a veteran leftist and ruling party member that the deal let voters down. The deal is conditional on Greece's European and IMF creditors accepting a list of reforms drawn up by Greece.

"In spite of Germany taking a hard line, the proposals will most likely be accepted by the EU and the reason for that is simply Greece cannot afford to depart from the euro zone, not because Greece is a big economy, but from a psychological standpoint," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

"The EU does not want Greece to leave, because if (it does), it sets a precedent and opens up a new can of worms - who would be next?"   Continued...