- U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday, as speculation the Federal Reserve could lower rates earlier than anticipated continued to weigh, as well as comments by International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 declined 0.41%, the S&P 500 slid 0.31%, while the NASDAQ Composite edged down 0.12%.

Official data last week showed that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for jobs growth of 212,000, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1%, the lowest in almost six years.

The strong data sparked speculation that the Fed could bring forward its timetable for raising interest rates.

Markets were also jittery after IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned over the weekend that the pace of global growth may be weaker than expected in the second half of the year due to weak investment.

American Apparel (NYSE:APP) surged 7.47% following reports its largest investor, Standard General LP, is considering paying off a $10 million loan for the retailer to help it avoid deeper legal disputes.

On the downside, Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM) slipped 0.22% after saying it will acquire Wild Flavors GmbH, a maker of natural food ingredients, for about $3 billion cash in what will be the company’s biggest takeover.

Also in M&A news, nline travel-booking service Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), down 0.44%, was said to have agreed to buy Australia''s Wotif.Com Holdings (ASX:WTF) for $658 million, in a move to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ:GTAT) added to losses, down 9.72% after UBS downgraded the provider of electronics technology to "neutral" from "buy" and Canaccord Genuity Group cut the stock to "hold" from "buy".

Elsewhere, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) edged up 0.10% after YouTube postponed a controversial plan to block certain record labels from its video platform, following an outcry from the creative community and growing scrutiny from European regulators.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 declined 0.78%, France’s CAC 40 tumbled 0.99%, Germany''s DAX retreated 0.56%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 slid 0.54%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng dipped 0.02%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.37%.

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