U.S. stocks opened mildly lower Wednesday as the end of year draws to a close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 19 points to 12,271. The S&P 500 Index shed 3 points to 1,262. The Nasdaq Composite declined 10 points to 2,615. Shortly after the open, the Euro sold off pushing the averages lower. Italy had a successful shorter-term maturity auction this morning, but awaits a longer-dated debt offering tomorrow. Light volume could push the averages around pretty easily. Yesterday's dog of the day, Sears is down once again this morning following a downgrade from Goldman Sachs. Whirlpool is higher this morning after getting dragged down yesterday on the disappointing sales number out of Sears. Dunken Brands and Valspar are higher on upgrades. The consumer staples sector is higher this morning as investors blindly pile more money into what has worked. The tech sector is lower for the most part except for Apple and Google. Google actually made a new 52 week high this morning. A small networking firm, Cavium Networks is lower after reducing guidance, but it looks like investors were expecting the bad news. The chip stocks are also lower. Broadcom received positive comments, however the stock is lower. The commodity and energy space is lower. Kodiak Oil & Gas is down 4% on a downgrade. Positive comments on Noble Energy is not helping that stock. Rare earth stocks have certainly lost their luster. Molycorp is down 10% on a downgrade. Through the morning the averages kept pushing lower with the Dow falling over 100 points while the Nasdaq dropped 30 points. Not many stocks are left in the green. The financials are lower once again. No support for the banks into year end. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages remained weak near the lows of the day. All the volatility occurs in the first and last hour. However today's last hour only brought more selling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 139 points, or 1.1%, to end at 12,151. The S&P 500 lost 15 points, or 1.3%, to end at 1,249, now down for the year. The Nasdaq Composite shed 35 points, or 1.3%, to 2,589, down 2.4% for 2011.
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