Stocks Plunge; Dow Loses 198
The stock market fell on Thursday as investors continue to react very nervously to events unfolding in Europe. Financial stocks helped lead the way lower in the major averages. Late in the day the market swung wildly on a series of rumors related to a leak of an EU summit draft, but stocks finished on the lows after reports indicated Germany had rejected some of the measures outlined in the draft.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 198 points to close at 11,997, breaching the key psychological 12,000 level. The widely watched blue-chip index traded in a range between 11,966 and 12,196.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) fell 2.19% to $123.95. Volume was a little lighter than normal with around 235.3 million SPY shares trading hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 265 million.
The PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (NASDAQ: QQQ), which tracks the performance of the Nasdaq 100, shed 1.68% to $56.12. The QQQ is up 3.03% in 2011.
Crude oil also followed the stock market lower. NYMEX crude futures lost 2.50% to $97.98 while ICE Brent contracts shed 1.88% to $107.47. The United States Oil Fund ETF (NYSE: USO) lost 2.65% and closed at $37.78.
Gold also was lower in a risk-off environment. COMEX gold futures lost 1.79% to $1,713.50. The SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSE: GLD) registered a loss of 2% on the session and closed at $165.95. COMEX silver futures lost 2.83% to $31.705.
Treasuries were well bid throughout the day as investors were moving money out of stocks and commodities. The iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) added 1.25% to $119.16. The yield on the 10-Year Note fell 6.3 basis points to 1.97%.
The U.S. Dollar also benefited from European uncertainty. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, added 0.54% to $22.19. The closely watched EUR/USD pair is currently trading at $1.3338.
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