U.S. stocks opened sharply lower Thursday, retreating after two days of gains, ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act and the start of a summit of European leaders. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 103 points to 12,524, with J.P. Morgan Chase off 3.6% on a New York Times report its trading losses could top $9 billion. The S&P 500 shed 9 points to 1,321. The Nasdaq Composite fell 29 points, or 1%, to 2,845. Two sectors front and center. First, healthcare has performed well in the last month awaiting the Supreme Court decision today on Obama-care. The sector is modestly lower today. Second, the financials are back in the spotlight, but not for anything good. In Europe the banks are getting hit. Barclays is down 12% as many of their top executives are in the hot seat because of the company's decision to try and manipulation the Libor rate. Royal Bank of Scotland is down 11%. Deutsche Bank and ING are lower by 3%. In Brazil, Moody's downgraded 8 Brazilian banks. Thanks Moody's. Back here, JP Morgan is getting hit on a NY Times article indicating the London "whale" trade error could grow to $9 Billion, although most analysts would say the loss is more likely $4 to $5 billion. Either way, JP Morgan and the other big banks are getting hit. In the tech space, the disk drive makers are getting hit thanks to cautious comments out of Hutchinson. Ebay is getting hit on cautious analyst comments. Facebook is also lower on cautious analyst comments. Qualcomm, Apple, EMC and Broadcom were all upgraded, but all are lower. CREE is one of the few techs higher on an upgrade. The energy sector opened lower, but is battling back. Halliburton is higher on an upgrade. On the earnings front, Paychex is lower on earnings. Family Dollar is down 3% after missing estimates. The retail sector has been under a little bit of pressure the last several days. After the first half an hour the averages pushed lower as the Supreme Court upheld a portion of Obama-care. This ruling dropped the HMOs like Wellpoint and Unitedhealth to drop dramatically only to rebound, and sell off once again. The hospital stocks are performing well with HCA, Universal Health Services, Community Health Services, and Health Management Services are all up 3% or more. By the end of the first hour the Dow fell 150 points while the Nasdaq declined 46 points. Things have gone from bad to worse. Through the morning the averages stabilized remaining weak near the lows of the day. In the afternoon the more of the same the Dow pushed even lower heading into the last hour. In the last hour the volume came back to the market as the averages put in a nice bounce due to rumors of European movement from Germany. Rumor or not it's working for the bulls. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down just 24 points at 12,602. The S&P 500 index declined 2 points to 1,329. The Nasdaq Composite shed 25 points to 2,849.
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