Stocks moved sharply lower at the start of trading on Monday, with the major averages giving back some ground after closing higher for three straight weeks. The initial weakness came as some traders looked to cash in on the recent gains.

Some selling pressure has also been generated by concerns about the outlook for the auto industry after the Obama administration indicated that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler need to step up their efforts to reorganize in order to receive additional government aid.

Most of the major sectors have moved sharply lower in early trading, reflecting broad based weakness in the markets. Banking, steel, airline, and housing stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances.

The major averages have seen some further downside in the past few minutes, pulling back to new lows for the young session. The Dow is currently down 196.26 at 7,579.92, the Nasdaq is down 41.55 at 1,503.65 and the S&P 500 is down 21.41 at 794.53.

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