June 30th, 2010
08:35 PM ET

Stocks dive, oil posts decline as second quarter ends

A look at the day's business headlines:

Stocks dive as second quarter ends
Stocks finished lower after a late-session retreat, as investors piled out of a downbeat quarter that ended with Wednesday's session.

The major indexes had teetered on either side of breakeven throughout the
day as investors weighed a weak jobs report against an improved European bank outlook that provided earlier support. But all three indexes turned down sharply as the session ended.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 96 points, or 1%, to finish at 9,774.02. The S&P 500 closed down 1 percent at 1,030.71 and the Nasdaq lost 1.2 percent to end at 2,109.24. 

All three indexes' closing figures were the lowest since late 2009. Declines were broad-based, with 29 of the 30 Dow components ending lower Wednesday. Diversified manufacturer 3M managed to hold an 0.6 percent gain.

Wednesday's session marked the end of the second quarter, during which the blue-chip Dow fell more than 10 percent on concerns about Europe's debt and the overall global economy. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 each lost 12% in the second quarter. 

Year-to-date, the Dow is off 7.7 percent. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 are both down 9 percent over the first half of the year.

The ADP report showed less of a private sector job-market gain than economists had hoped, denting stocks trying to recoup losses from the prior session.

Oil prices post first quarterly decline since 2008
Oil prices continued to slide Wednesday, and posted the first quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2008, after a weaker-than-expected report on crude inventories.

Crude oil futures for August delivery fell 31 cents, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $75.63 a barrel. 

Over the course of the quarter, oil prices lost 9.7 percent. Prices have gained every quarter since the last quarter of 2008, when they plunged by 55.7 percent. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas held steady at $2.755, unchanged from the previous day's price, according to motorist group AAA.

Investors were disappointed by weekly supply report that showed weak demand for crude oil. The Energy Information Administration said that gasoline stockpiles jumped by 500,000 barrels, surprising analysts who expected them to drop by 400,000 barrels, according to a consensus estimate collected by energy information provider Platts.

Dollar down as worries about European banks ease

The dollar slipped versus the euro Wednesday after the European Central Bank said demand for loans was weaker than expected, signaling a brighter outlook for the European banking system.

What prices are doing: The dollar fell 0.3% versus the euro to $1.2225, and it was flat against the Japanese yen at ¥88.62.

 Against the British pound, the greenback gained 0.1% to $1.5049 .

On Tuesday, the dollar gained as worries about the global economic outlook rattled markets and investors sought a safe haven.

What's moving the market: The European Central Bank's year-long lending program is set to expire Thursday, and investors have been worried about the repercussions of cutting off funds to banks that have become dependent on the liquidity.

But fears eased slightly Wednesday after an offering of 3-month loans from the ECB was met with less demand than expected, signaling that European banks may not be in as much trouble as investors had previously thought.

Treasury prices slip
Treasury prices ended mixed Wednesday as investor appetite for safe-haven assets faded a day after prices surged and the benchmark 10-year note's yield fell to a 14-month low below 3 percent.

The 10-year note edged up 3/32 to 104-25/32 and its yield fell to 2.94 percent from 2.96 percent late Tuesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The 2-year note shed 1/32 to 100-1/32 and its yield was 0.62 percent. The 2-year note's yield fell Tuesday to 0.59 percent, a record low. The 30-year bond rose 23/32 to 108-14/32 with a yield of 3.93 percent.

Demand for the safety of U.S. government-backed debt was tepid after a report from Automatic Data Processing showed that employers added 13,000 jobs in June. 

CNNMoney.com reporters Blake Ellis, Julianne Pepitone and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy • World
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  1. Steve Brian


    June 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |