Stocks Closed Sharply Lower, Helped Drive Weekly Loss

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Friday as a confluence of intensifying Greek default fears and new stock- market regulation from China put investors on edge. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 279.47 points, or 1.54%, to 17,826.30 and ended the week 1.3% lower. The S&P 500 fell 23.81 points, or 1.13%, to 2,081.18 and recorded a 1% loss over the week. The Nasdaq Composite was down 75.98 points, or 1.52%, to 4,931.81 and lost 1.3% over the week.

Greece isn’t winning much sympathy from its debt-wracked European counterparts as the country draws closer to default for failing to make bailout repayments.

Fresh regulation out of China on Friday opened the door for fund managers to lend shares for short-selling and will also expand the number of stocks investors can short sell. The moves were announced by the Securities Association of China on Friday, and many believe it is aimed at increasing supplies of securities and cooling down markets there.

U.S. consumer prices increased for a second straight month in March on rising gasoline and housing costs, a sign of an uptick in inflation that should keep the Federal Reserve on course to start raising interest rates this year. The Labour Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent last month after a similar gain in February.

The Group of 20 leading economies on Friday said risks to the global economy had diminished with improved growth prospects in rich nations, but it warned of challenges from exchange rate volatility and geopolitical tensions to low inflation.

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