U.S. stocks head lower on China, Greece concerns

NEW YORK - Concerns about the world economy helped tug U.S. stocks down early Monday. Major indexes followed European markets lower as worries mount over Greece's standoff with its creditors.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,774 as of 12:16 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 slipped two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,053, while the Nasdaq composite fell three points to 4,741.

Before the market opened, McDonald's reported that a key measure of global sales shrank last month, as sales slumped across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The world's biggest hamburger chain dropped 95 cents, or 1 percent, to $93.05.

Hasbro jumped $3.98, or 7 percent, to $59.72 after the toy company turned in stronger quarterly results. Sales of toys geared toward boys increased 21 percent, led by Transformers, Nerf and Marvel-brand action heroes. Hasbro also raised its dividend and expanded plans to buy back its own shares.

It's just past the half-way mark for the fourth-quarter earnings season, and the results are shaping up better than Wall Street had expected. Seven out of 10 big companies have turned in higher profits than analysts had forecast, putting overall earnings on track to rise 7 percent for the full quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ.

U.S. crude oil surged $1.63 to $53.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That lifted stocks in companies tied to the oil industry. Nabors Industries and NRG Energy each gained more than 4 percent.

Major markets in Europe fell. France's CAC-40 lost 1.3 percent, and Germany's DAX fell 1.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.5 percent.

On Sunday, Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, set his government on a collision course with the country's creditors. Tsipras proclaimed an end to a regimen of budget cuts and tax increases and said he would push for a "bridge agreement" that would give Greece and its creditors time to negotiate a new lending arrangement by June. Greece and its European creditors were expected to discuss the issue later this week.

Investors reacted to Chinese trade data released Sunday that showed imports fell nearly 20 percent over a year earlier. Exports were also weak, dropping 3.2 percent from a year earlier, heightening concerns about the world's second-largest economy.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also closed lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent.

In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.93 percent.