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Tickers in this Article: AAPL, BAC, C, HPQ, INTC, MCD, MSFT, NKE, SBUX, TGT, WFC
Political apprehensions and uncertainty in the European region ensured benchmarks were left languishing in the red yesterday. Consequently, investors created selling pressure and the Dow suffered its fifth-straight decline. However, the benchmarks recouped the day's losses and contained the losses well below a percent. Indeed, that was quiet an improvement given that the Dow was almost down by 200 points at a certain point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 0.6% to end at 12,932.09. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) lost 0.4% to finish yesterday's trading session at 1,363.72. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index also shed 0.4% and closed at 2,946.27. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 0.6% to settle at 19.05. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange were 7.72 billion shares, higher than the daily average of roughly 6.76 billion. Declining stocks edged past the advancing ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 3:2.

Selling pressure was felt by markets as soon as they opened following changes in the political equations in Europe, which raised many questions regarding the regions' fiscal health. On Monday, the first trading day after the results of Greece and France's elections were announced, markets had ended mixed after hovering lower earlier in the day. Investors did fret over Nicolas Sarkozy's defeat, but they had shrugged off this development by the close on Monday.

The political results displayed that there was serious discomfort about unpopular austerity measures. The austerity measures were also a key issue in Greece, a nation which also went to the polls over the weekend. However, the situation in Greece was far more complicated and this dragged the markets lower yesterday. The nation was yet to witness government formation and no party had clear majority. While the votes were believed to have been cast against the economic measures, deep spending cuts in the nation were believed to have been further intensifying the recession. Amidst these developments, Greece's left-wing political party said that the nation was not compelled to continue the strict economic cuts in return for the bailout package. This intensified the situation, as it sparked widespread apprehensions over the fiscal health of the nation going forward and the economic health of the continent as well.

Benchmarks across major countries of Europe, including Germany, France, Italy and Britain were at multi-month lows and the ripple effect was travelled across Atlantic to reach the US. Benchmarks traded lower right from the start and had dropped over a percentage. However, a late comeback reduced much of the losses, but key sectors including financial, technology and consumer discretionary finished in the red.

Coming to sectoral stocks, Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) dropped 0.7% and stocks like Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) shed 2.1%, 1.1%, 1.0% and 1.0%, respectively. As for the technology sector, the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) was down 0.4% and tech bellwethers like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) lost 0.2%, 0.5%, 2.3% and 1.4%, respectively.

Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest sufferers as the Consumer Discret Select Sector SPDR (XLY) plunged 1.2%. Stocks of the likes of McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) and Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) lost 2.1%, 2.3%, 0.4% and 2.4%, respectively.

 
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