Falling stocks bring S&P 500 into bear market
As markets around the world fell Tuesday on fears about the European financial crisis, the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index entered into bear market territory, which is defined as a 20% drop from recent highs.
The index was trading down 19.59 points, or 1.8%, to 1076.98 this morning. That is 21% below the closing price reached at the market's peak this year in April.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell even more sharply Tuesday morning, though it is has not dropped as steeply for the year. It was recently trading down 244.64 points, or 2.3%, to 10,410.70.
The declines come a day after U.S. stocks closed at their lowest levels in a year.
U.S. markets followed European indexes, which in midday trading were down 4.1% in Germany and 3.7% in Britain after European financial ministers meeting in Luxembourg indicated that a recently crafted bailout plan for Greece may have to be restructured.
The fear drove down near all assets, including oil and gold. U.S. Treasury bonds once again provided one of the only safe havens for investors; the yield on the 10-year government bond was down to 1.76% from 1.78% Monday.
-- Nathaniel Popper