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Stocks extend losing streak

August 3, 2011 |  9:05 am

Wall Street's worst losing streak since the peak of the financial crisis in October 2008 is showing no Exchange flag  stan honda getty signs of relenting.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped in erratic trading Wednesday, putting the blue-chip index on track for its ninth-consecutive losing session, the longest streak since 1978. More than $250 billion has been wiped from the Dow’s market value since investors began the sell-off on July 22.

Investors remained wary about another stream of weak economic reports and continued concerns about the fiscal future in the U.S. and Europe.

The declines came after reports showed that the U.S. services sector weakened in July and factory orders fell in June. The data offset one positive report during morning trading: Private-sector hiring in July came in slightly better than expected. Investors are also positioning themselves ahead of closely watched employment data due out this week: weekly jobless claims on Thursday and Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for July.

Stocks spent most of the morning session in choppy trading. The Dow was recently down 82.46 points, or 0.7%, to 11,784.16, after losing more than 150 points earlier in the session. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 7.84 points, or 0.6%, to 1,246.21. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 4.88 points, or 0.2%, to 2,664.36.

The drop in U.S. stocks follows a cascade of selling overseas. European stocks fell sharply, with London's  FTSE 100 falling 2.7%. Markets in Asia also fell overnight, with Japan's Nikkei stock average falling 2.1%

Meanwhile, investors rushed into traditional haven bets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to another low for the year: 2.57%, from 2.62 % Tuesday. Gold rose nearly 2% to $1,671 an ounce.

The Swiss franc, which had been serving as a haven, dropped in value after the central bank there announced an interest rate cut.


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-- Joe Bel Bruno

Photo: Getty Images/Stan Honda.