European debt problems the euro support gold
Asian stock markets slip on Europe debt fears
Asian markets dropped Monday amid fears of a spreading European debt crisis after a ratings agency placed Italian banks on a review for a possible downgrade.
Oil prices fell below $91 a barrel as a stronger U.S. dollar made crude more expensive for investors with other currencies. The greenback was higher against the euro and the yen on safe-haven buying.
Meanwhile, Italian banks were down sharply Friday on the Milan stock exchange after ratings agency Moody's said it was considering downgrading their credit worthiness.
Moody's Investors Service placed the long-term debt and deposit ratings of 16 Italian banks and two Italian government-related financial institutions on review for a possible downgrade.
On Wall Street, stocks fell Friday after poor earnings reports from two major technology companies suggested that companies invested less in new technology as the economic recovery slowed.
The U.S. economy has cooled since late April. Recent reports on housing, employment, manufacturing and retail sales all have been weak. The debt crisis in Greece and fears that China's growth is slowing have also pushed markets lower.
In energy trading, benchmark oil for August delivery was down 81 cents to $90.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose 14 cents to settle at $91.16 on Friday.
In currencies, the euro weakened $1.4125 from $1.4171 on Friday in New York. The dollar ticked up to 80.75 yen from 80.52 yen.