Stock Market Falls Again to Start Week
After recording steep losses last week, the U.S. equity market fell again on Monday. The sell-off, which sent the Dow down triple digits yet again, was triggered by comments from ECB president Mario Draghi which suggested 2012 could be a difficult year for banks.
He also cast doubt on the prospect of the ECB becoming the lender of last resort to distressed European governments. By the close of trading, the Dow had lost 100 points and closed at 11,766. The widely watched blue-chip average traded in a range between 11,735 and 11,925.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shed 1.07% to $120.29. Volume was lighter than normal with around 175.5 million SPY shares trading hands on the session compared to a 3-month daily average of 256 million.
The PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (NASDAQ: QQQ), which tracks the performance of the Nasdaq 100, fell 0.98% to $54.32. Today's losses sent the QQQ back into negative territory for the year, with a loss of 0.26%.
Crude oil rose modestly on the day. NYMEX crude futures gained 0.27% to $93.78 while ICE Brent contracts rose 0.18% to $103.54. The United States Oil Fund ETF (NYSE: USO) recorded a loss of 0.22% to $36.20 on the session.
Gold was fractionally lower on Monday. COMEX gold futures shed 0.16% to $1,595.30. The SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSE: GLD) closed down 0.24% to $154.85. Losses in silver, on the other hand, were much worse with COMEX silver futures falling 3.07% to $28.76.
Amid the "risk off" atmosphere, demand for Treasuries was high. The iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) surged 1.25% to $123.87 on the day. The yield on the 10-Year note fell another 4 basis points to 1.81%.
The U.S. Dollar moved higher as money moved out of stocks. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, added 0.36% to close at $22.57. Most recently, the closely watched EUR/USD pair was trading at $1.3018.
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