The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

May 14, 2012

US stocks drop sharply on worries over Europe

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell hard Monday as a political stalemate in Greece rattled financial markets worldwide.  

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 130 points to 12,690 a half-hour after the opening bell. That’s a loss of 1 percent.

Oil dropped below $95 per barrel, and the euro sank against the dollar. Treasury prices jumped as traders shifted money into the safest bonds. The yield on the 10-year note fell to 1.77 percent, the lowest level this year.  

Political parties in Athens resumed power-sharing talks Monday as negotiations to create a government drag into a second week. The uncertainty has raised concerns that Greece could miss a debt payment and drop out of the euro currency. The worry is that if Greece leaves the currency union, bond traders may turn on other troubled countries in Europe and demand steeper borrowing rates on the government bond market.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 13 points to 1,340. The Nasdaq composite fell 24 points to 2,909.

Major markets in Europe plunged Monday. France’s CAC-40 lost 2.9 percent, and Germany’s DAX dropped 2.3 percent. Benchmark indexes also dropped 3 percent in Italy and Spain.

JPMorgan Chase fell nearly 3 percent in early trading, following news that its chief investment officer, Ina Drew, would step down. The bank said last week that it lost $2 billion in a trade on corporate debt. Other banks followed JPMorgan lower. Morgan Stanley fell 3.6 percent and Goldman Sachs fell 1.8 percent.

Yahoo gained more than 3 percent after the company replaced its CEO, Scott Thompson. Yahoo reportedly pushed Thompson out for padding his resume.

Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. rose 1.8 percent after the company’s founder, Richard Schulze, said he would step down as chairman. An investigation found that he knew the CEO was having a relationship with a female employee and did not alert the audit committee.

 

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