US STOCKS-Wall St tumbles on euro zone, economy fears

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) sank on Thursday as
escalating fears of sovereign debt problems in Europe led
investors to dump riskier assets.

Mining and materials companies’ shares took a pounding.
Worries over the debt struggles of euro-zone countries Greece,
Portugal and Spain fueled a flight from stocks to the
safe-haven dollar, which hurt commodity prices denominated in
the greenback. Barrick Gold (ABX.N: ) fell 5.5 percent to $33.93
and U.S. Steel (X.N: ) lost 5.1 percent to $44.44. For details

“There is significant global concern because of the tidal
wave of money shipped around the world,” said Fred Dickson,
chief market strategist of D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego,

Investors are focusing on government debt in Spain and
Portugal, the latest euro-zone countries to rattle markets
after Greece.

(To see a graphic showing the rising cost of insuring these
nations’ debt, click on

Economic data also weighed on investors. Weekly initial
claims for state unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly,
pointing to stubborn weakness in the U.S. labor market.

The specter of rising unemployment before Friday’s nonfarm
payrolls report overshadowed better-than-expected factory
orders as investors piled into safer assets. U.S. Treasury debt
prices rallied.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) dropped 207.00
points, or 2.02 percent, to 10,063.55. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) fell 25.71 points, or 2.34 percent, to
1,071.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) lost 51.33 points,
or 2.34 percent, to 2,139.58.

Corporate earnings were mixed. Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: )
shares rose 0.6 percent to $23.20 after the company reported
higher-than-expected revenue growth late on Wednesday as more
customers resumed upgrading their networks to handle increasing
wireless and Internet traffic. [ID:nN0395898]

In other results after Wednesday’s closing bell, silicon
maker MEMC Electronic Materials Inc (WFR.N: ) posted a quarterly
loss on lower sales. But the company said pricing pressures
have moderated and product volume continued to increase. Its
stock fell 11.9 percent to $12.01.

Weighing on the financial sector, MasterCard Inc (MA.N: )
tumbled 9.8 percent to $223.43 after it posted quarterly
earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s estimates. That
contrasted with stronger-than-expected earnings from Visa Inc
(V.N: ) late Wednesday. Visa’s shares rose 0.8 percent to $84.22.
[ID:nN03182930] and [ID:nN03155595]

An S&P index of financial stocks (.GSPF: ) fell 3 percent.

Many U.S. retailers reported January sales that beat Wall
Street’s estimates. Department store operator Macy’s Inc’s
(M.N: ) and teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO.N: )
raised earnings forecasts. [ID:nN04173396]

Macy’s rose 2 percent to $16.56, while America Eagle fell
2.3 percent to $16.06. But Target Corp (TGT.N: ), the No. 2 U.S.
discount retailer, posted disappointing sales and said it was
prepared for a challenging environment in 2010. Its shares slid
3.4 percent to $48.87. An S&P retail index (.RLX: ) dropped 1.8

Stock Analysis

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jan Paschal)
([email protected]; Tel: +1 646-223-6314;
Reuters Messaging: [email protected];
Twitter: @EDkrudy_Reuters)

US STOCKS-Wall St tumbles on euro zone, economy fears