U.S. stock opened sharply lower with escalating violence in Libya after data showed U.S. home-prices falling 1% in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 75 points to start the day at 12,300. Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 15 points to 1,326 while Nasdaq declined 35 points to 2,359. The only sector trading higher is the energy patch thanks to a spike in the oil futures above $90 a barrel. The oils, oil drillers, and the natural gas plays look good. China solar company, Trina Solar is up 3% following better than expected earnings. Rare earth play Molycorp is jumping 4% on an upgrade. The other commodities like fertilizer, silver, copper, and iron ore plays are lower. With the spike in oil, the Dow Jones Transportation Average is down 2%. FedEx and UPS are also lower by 2%. During the first hour the Dow fell over a 100 points, but then rallied back. The earnings keep coming in better than expected. Office Depot is jumping 8% following earnings. Home Depot and Hormel Foods are higher following earnings. Apparel maker, VF Corp is jumping 10% on earnings and raised guidance. General Mills is higher after reaffirming earnings. Walmart is the weakest Dow component down 3% following earnings. Medtronic and Medco are also lower following earnings. After the first hour the Dow was only down 50 points with the Nasdaq down 25 points. With oil futures up above $90 a barrel, it's really amazing this market isn't trading much lower. Through the morning the bulls pulled back allowing the Dow to move back down over 100 points and the Nasdaq declining 50 points or 2%. The Nasdaq is a slave to Apple's stock which is down over 2%. In the afternoon the averages moved lower with the Dow dropping 150 points and the Nasdaq declining 60 points. The only stocks trading higher are the oil and gas stocks. In the last hour the Dow kept moving lower down over 200 points with the Nasdaq declining 80 points or nearly 3%. The biggest down day for the year, but that's not saying much. Into the close the averages bounced off the lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 178 points, or 1.4%, to 12,212. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 25 points, or 2.1%, to 1,315. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 77 points, or 2.7%, to 2,756.
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