US stocks fall amid Greece uncertainties (Lead)February 11th, 2012 - 9:29 am ICT by IANS
New York, Feb 11 (IANS) US stocks closed lower Friday as uncertainties about the Greek debt crisis and poor economic data weighed the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 89.23 points, or 0.69 percent, at 12,801.23. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 9.31 points, or 0.69 percent, to 1,342.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 23.35 points, or 0.80 percent, to 2,903.88, Xinhua reported.
Although Greece claimed it had reached agreements over austerity measure Thursday, eurozone finance ministers said Friday more austerity measures were needed before they release the second bailout package.
The uncertainty raised investors’ concerns about the Greek debt problem as it is widely expected that the country will default in mid-March without the second bailout from international organizations.
Also adding the concerns, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s Friday downgraded 34 Italian banks as industry and economic risks were threatening the country.
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve said Friday that Fed policy has reduced mortgage rates but lenders have tightened credit standards. He anticipates an additional 1 million foreclosures each year for the next few years.
His words raised investors’ concerns about the recovery of housing market and weighed on the market.
The US Commerce Department said trade deficit widened to $48.8 billion last December, marking the highest level since July 2008.
Among earnings, NYSE Euronext posted a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. Its profit rose to $212 million in the last quarter of 2011.
LinkedIn also beat estimation as the professional-networking website posted more than doubled revenue in fourth quarter in 2011.
On other markets, the dollar surged Friday, boosted by weak euro and risk-aversion appetite. Oil price also dropped as International Energy Agency cut 2012 global oil demand growth forecast.
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