* Spain formally asks for cash to bail out its banks
* May U.S. new-home sales rise to two-year high
* Chesapeake, rival plotted to suppress land prices; shares dip
* Indexes off: Dow 1.3 pct, S&P 1.8 pct, Nasdaq 2.1 pct (Updates to midday)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Monday as investors turned cautious ahead of a European Union summit this week that many fear will do little to calm concerns about the escalating euro zone debt crisis.
Energy and bank stocks led the decline on the S&P 500. U.S. crude futures dropped near last week’s eight-month low, and news that Spain had requested help for its struggling banks pressured financial stocks.
The S&P 500 energy sector index was off 2.6 percent and the financial sector index lost 2.2 percent.
Among individual stocks, Chesapeake fell 8.3 percent to $17.06. Reuters reported that under the direction of Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon, the company plotted with its top competitor to suppress land prices in one of America’s most promising oil and gas locations.
Spain formally requested euro zone rescue loans for up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) to recapitalize its banks, saying the final amount of assistance would be set at a later stage. Some market economists say it is merely a prelude to a full bailout for Spain.
Spanish government bonds came under pressure with the 10-year bond yield 18 basis points higher at 6.53 percent, near the 7-percent mark that forced other indebted European countries to ask for bailouts.
Markets continue to react to European headlines as the spiraling debt crisis in Europe could further hurt a slowing global economy. Austerity measures pushed forward by Germany have Greece mired in a long recession. Investors worry Spain could follow Greece’s path as Madrid’s borrowing costs remain stubbornly high.
“Declining oil prices and near-record low bond yields indicate slowing global growth, while elevated sovereign credit spreads and a strong U.S. dollar suggest the European crisis is nowhere near being resolved,” said Mandy Xu, equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 165.48 points, or 1.31 percent, at 12,475.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 24.05 points, or 1.80 percent, at 1,310.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 60.61 points, or 2.10 percent, at 2,831.81.
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it will rule on the constitutionality of a 2010 healthcare reform law on Thursday, the last day of the high court term. The Morgan Stanley healthcare payor index dropped 1.6 percent.
A European equity benchmark fell 1.5 percent and the dollar, seen as a safe-haven when European markets are volatile, rose as worries about global growth lingered after last week’s soft data on manufacturing worldwide.
New U.S. single-family home sales surged in May to a seasonally adjusted 369,000-unit annual rate, the highest since April 2010, and prices rose from a year ago amid tightening supply. But the European concerns apparently overshadowed any positive impact as a homebuilding index fell 1.6 percent.
Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co fell 4 percent and Pfizer Inc lost 1.6 percent after the companies announced their closely watched blood clot preventer failed to win approval from U.S. health regulators.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc > was the only gainer on the Dow. Walmart Canada said the company is opening of 47 hiring centers across Canada to support its growth plans. (Reporting By Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)