US STOCKS-Dow dips below 10,000 mark on eurozone debt, jobs data

* European debt worries, U.S. jobless data rattle markets

* Dow dips below 10,000-mark

* Financial, energy and materials sectors hard hit

* Dow down 2.6 pct; S&P off 3.1 pct; Nasdaq off 3 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to close)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – The Dow briefly fell below the
crucial 10,000 mark on Thursday as stocks suffered their worst
losses in more than nine months.

Escalating sovereign debt problems in Europe and an
unexpected rise in jobless claims put investors on the
defensive just ahead of Friday’s crucial payrolls report.

Investors dumped banks and commodity-related shares and
Wall Street’s fear gauge jumped more than 20 percent, fueling
worries that the brief respite from the market’s late January
slide was over.

“We got spoiled last year with the market going up almost
non-stop after the March low,” Bob Doll, global chief
investment officer for equities at BlackRock, told Reuters.

“The consolidation or corrective phase is probably not
over.”

Worries over the ability of Greece, Portugal and Spain to
pay their debts fueled a flight from stocks to the safe-haven
U.S. dollar, which hurt commodity prices denominated in the
greenback.

The unexpected increase in U.S. weekly initial claims for
state unemployment benefits pointed to stubborn weakness in the
labor market, and heightened concerns ahead of Friday’s
employment data. For details, see [ID:nN04233513].

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) fell 268.37 points,
or 2.61 percent, to close at 10,002.18. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) dropped 34.17 points, or 3.11 percent, to
close at 1,063.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) lost
65.48 points, or 2.99 percent, to close at 2,125.43.

The Dow is now off 6.7 percent from its 15-month closing
high of Jan. 19. The S&P 500 is off 7.6 percent from its
15-month closing high on the same date, while the Nasdaq is off
8.4 percent from its 16-month closing peak set on Jan. 19.

Spain and Portugal were the latest euro-zone countries to
worry investors about mounting fiscal deficits after Greece had
rattled markets earlier.[ID:nLDE6130RE].

For a graphic on the rising cost of insuring these nations’
debt, click on http://link.reuters.com/kyd77h

Reflecting investor anxiety, the CBOE Volatility Index
(.VIX: ), Wall Street’s favorite measure of sentiment, spiked
20.7 percent to end at 26.08.

Bank of America (BAC.N: ) was the Dow’s biggest percentage
decliner, down 5 percent at $14.75. Aluminum company Alcoa Inc
(AA.N: ) fell 4.3 percent to $12.91.

The largest U.S. bank’s stock was also pressured after New
York’s attorney general charged former Chief Executive Kenneth
Lewis and former Chief Financial Officer Joe Price with fraud
for allegedly misleading shareholders about the bank’s
acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. [ID:nN0499983]

Also weighing on the financial sector, credit card company
MasterCard Inc (MA.N: ) tumbled 10.3 percent to end at $222.11
after it posted quarterly earnings that fell short of Wall
Street’s estimates.

A rare bright spot came from Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: ), up
0.4 percent at $23.16, the Dow’s only advancer, after the
network equipment maker reported higher-than-expected revenue
growth late on Wednesday.

Shares of CME Group Inc (CME.O: ), which operates U.S.
financial exchanges, slid 7.8 percent to $269.29 after the
company posted fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) below Wall Street
expectations.

Total volume of 11.21 billion shares traded on the New York
Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, well
above last year’s estimated daily average of 9.65 billion.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by
a ratio of 14 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, about seven stocks
fell for every one that rose.

Stock Investing

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Dow dips below 10,000 mark on eurozone debt, jobs data