Stocks Ended Sharply Lower on Economic Worries

U.S. stocks end sharply lower, erasing the prior day’s gains, after economic data dampen sentiment and unrest in Greece further destabilized global financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 178.84 points, or 1.48%, to 11,897.27. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 22.45 points, or 1.76%, to 1,265.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 47.26 points, or 1.76%, to 2,631.46.

Greece’s prime minister, struggling to ensure Parliamentary approval for a crucial austerity bill, said Wednesday. He would reshuffle his Cabinet and seek a vote of confidence for his new government this week, after coalition talks with opposition parties failed.

Falling energy prices cooled overall inflation in May, offering some relief to consumers who have been coping for months with high gas prices. Overall consumer prices rose 0.2 percent, the smallest increase in six months, the

Labor Department said. It was the first drop in energy costs in nearly a year. Crude-oil futures stumbled Wednesday, hurt by a spike in the U.S. dollar against the euro as Greeceā€™s debt troubles appeared to be worsening. Oil for July delivery dropped $4.09, or 4.1%, to $95.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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