Stocks Suffer Worst Slide of Year

hcsp.jpgStocks closed sharply lower Tuesday, with the Dow posting its first triple-digit decline in 2012, fueled by fears over a Greek default and amid economic growth concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 203.66 points, or 1.57 percent, to close at 12,759.15, logging its biggest decline since November 23, led by Caterpillar [CAT  105.93     -4.16  (-3.78%)   ] and Alcoa [AA  9.47     -0.40  (-4.05%)   ]. Intel [INTC  26.605     0.065  (+0.24%)   ] was the only gainer on the blue-chip index.
The Dow’s recent streak without a triple-digit decline was the longest since 2006.
The S&P 500 erased 20.97 points, or 1.54 percent, to end at 1,343.36. The Nasdaq dropped 40.16 points, or 1.36 percent, to finish at 2,910.32. All 10 S&P sectors closed firmly in the red, led by financials and industrials.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, surged above 20 for the first time since mid-February. Meanwhile, open interest in the Vix index futures reached new all-time highs on Monday, hitting levels not seen since last June.
Global woes have weighed on equities in recent trading sessions. On Monday, stocks ended lower after China cut its 2012 growth target to an 8-year low of 7.5 percent.
The focus has since turned back to Greece as investors were jittery over the Greek debt swap deal. The bond swap plays an important role of a second bailout loan for the debt-ridden nation that aims to keep it from defaulting. European shares ended lower and gold prices dropped almost 2 percent as the euro slipped against the U.S. greenback.
Meanwhile, senior Greek finance ministry officials told CNBC the Private Sector Involvement (PSI) deal will be completed on time. The deadline is Thursday.
Source: CNBC | JeeYeon Park