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NEW YORK (AP)

Stocks drop amid focus on Lehman, Merrill Lynch

Stock prices are down at midday on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 261 points at 11,160. Decliners on the New York Stock Exchange hold a six to one lead over advancers.

The Nasdaq Composite Index has lost 35 points at 2,225.

And the Standard-and Poor's 500 Stock Index is down 27 points at 1,224.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange during the first two hours totaled 2.6 billion shares. Volume on the Nasdaq Market came to 763 million shares.

Stock prices remain lower at midday, although the key averages backed off their early lows.

Investors have been absorbing the news of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy and Bank of America's deal to buy Merrill Lynch.

Another financial name, American International Group, is the most active issue on the NYSE, seeing a sharp decline.

Oil prices have dropped more than $4 to $96 a barrel in New York as traders react to indications that Hurricane Ike largely spared oil interests in the Gulf of Mexico.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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