Stocks Finished Sharply Lower on Europe Worries

U.S. stocks closed out their worst day in more than three weeks Friday, as the solidity of the euro-zone again came under pressure following a senior central bank official’s exit and news Germany was preparing a backup plan for a Greek default. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 303.68, or 2.68%, to 10,992.13. The S&P 500 fell 31.67 points, or 2.67%, to 1,154.23. The Nasdaq Composite fell 61.15 points, or 2.42%, to 2,467.99. For the week, the Dow lost 2.2%; the S&P 500 fell 1.7%; and the Nasdaq Composite edged back 0.5%.

Shares of homebuilders fell on Friday amid a broad decline in the markets, further weighed by concerns about the possible fallout of a Labor Department investigation into how the homebuilding industry’s compensates its workers.

The dollar jumped to a six-month high against the euro Friday as investors speculated whether the European Central Bank could begin cutting interest rates and the head of the Federal Reserve failed to hint at immediate action to support U.S. markets. In morning trading Friday, the euro fell to a six-month low of $1.3697.

Oil and gasoline futures tumbled Friday on growing concerns about Europe’s economy. Benchmark crude fell $1.81, or 2 percent, to finish at $87.24 per barrel in New York.  Brent crude lost $1.78 to end at $112.77 per barrel in London.

Kroger Co. reported Friday that second-quarter profits and sales rose. Kroger reported its net income rose 7.3 percent to $280.8 million, or 46 cents per share. That’s up from $261.6 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 11.5 percent to $20.9 billion.

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