U.S. stocks began sharply lower on Wednesday, echoing a slide in equities around the globe, on intensifying concern Greece could exit the euro and as the region's leaders gathered in Brussels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 87 points to 12,415. The S&P 500 declined 8 points to 1,307. The Nasdaq Composite retreated 26 points to 2,812. The Asia markets held up, but the weakness and uncertainty in Europe is not helping investors over here. A few bright spots include retail and housing. Housing stocks performed well yesterday thanks to better than expected housing numbers. Today, Toll Brothers is up a percent on better than expected earnings. In the retail space Petsmart, Movado Group, Guess, and Hormel are higher on earnings. Petsmart is jumping 10%. Cracker Barrel, Big Lots, Starbucks, and Aeropostale are higher on upgrades. American Eagle and Big Lots are unchanged on earnings. Activision Blizzard is up 2% thanks to strong video games sales. Walmart is higher at a 12 year high. Wow. Nike and Best Buy are lower on cautious comments. Outside housing and retail, the broader market is ugly. In the tech space, Dell is down 17% on disappointing earnings. That's hurting the rest of the PC chain. Analog Devices and NetApp are down 2% on earnings. Even Apple is lower as one analyst downgraded its' price target. The financials are getting hit due to the European weakness. The European banks are all lower, most by 2% or more. Eaton Vance is down 2% after missing earnings. MetLife is down 3% on a federal investigation into their mortgage business. Blackrock and Blackstone are lower this morning. The energy, materials, and industrials are all getting hit. Through the morning the averages pushed lower with the Dow dropping over 150 points and the Nasdaq declining over 40 points. It's all about Europe and the European leaders' meeting tonight. In the afternoon the averages started to battle back. Apple and Google look good. Even Facebook is higher for once. Ford and GM are higher on debt upgrades. Heading into the last hour the Dow had recovered over 100 points. The financials have improved dramatically. A number of materials, energy, and industrials are moving into the green. An impressive turnaround, but it feels more like short covering and not real buying. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down just 6 points at 12,496, after falling as much as 191 points. The S&P 500 Index gained 2 points to 1,318. The Nasdaq Composite rose 11 points to 2,850.
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