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Stock prices drop... Internet watchdog spammed... 2012 third costliest for insurers

Wednesday - 3/27/2013, 3:08pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Worries about Europe have pushed stocks lower today, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest gain in three weeks. Investors are watching to see if Cyprus can restore confidence in its banking system. They are also keeping an eye on Italy, where political parties are struggling to form a new government in the third-largest economy in the eurozone.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, but the level stayed close to a nearly three-year high. The report suggests sales of previously occupied homes will keep rising in the coming months. The National Association of Realtors said signed contracts are 8.4 percent higher than a year ago.

GENEVA (AP) -- A leading Swiss insurance firm says 2012 was the third costliest year on record for insurance claims paid out because of natural catastrophes and man-made disasters. Zurich-based Swiss Reinsurance Ltd, known as Swiss Re, said the $77 billion tab insurance companies covered represents only about two-fifths of the $186 billion in economic losses from the more than 300 catastrophes and disasters around the globe last year. The events claimed an estimated 14,000 lives.

LONDON (AP) -- An Internet watchdog group responsible for keeping ads for counterfeit Viagra and bogus weight-loss pills out of inboxes around the world has been hit by a huge cyberattack. Spam-fighting organization Spamhaus says it was buffeted by a crushing electronic onslaught that one expert said had already had ripple effects across the Web. Groups angry at being blacklisted by the Geneva-based organization.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Hunters across the country say they are boycotting Colorado because of recent legislation meant to curtail gun violence. Colorado last week became the first Western state to ratchet back gun rights in response to mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and an elementary school in Connecticut.

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