Stocks See Worst Day of 2012 on Greek Fears

U.S. stocks had their worst day of the year on Friday on concerns that Greece was headed for a messy default. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89.23 points, or 0.69%, to 12,801.23 and lost 0.5% for the week. The S&P 500 lost 9.31 points, or 0.69%, to 1,342.64, off 0.2% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite fell 23.35 points, or 0.80%, to 2,903.88, off 0.1% for the week.

Greece’s future in the euro grew increasingly precarious Friday as violence erupted on the streets of Athens during a general strike and five politicians resigned from the government after European leaders demanded deeper spending cuts.

Americans felt worse about their personal finances in early February, even as they saw a light at the end of the tunnel for the jobs market, a survey released on Friday showed. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan overall index of consumer sentiment fell to 72.5 in early February from January’s 75.0, which was the highest level since February 2011.

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded 34 Italian banks on Friday, including heavyweights UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, citing a reduced ability to roll over their wholesale debt and expected weak profitability.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday issued a call to action to restore U.S. housing markets, saying depressed house prices and sales are a serious drag on the economic recovery.






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