NEW YORK (AP) — Unable to shake their worries about Europe, investors drove stocks to a four-month low Thursday and piled into bonds, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury note close to an all-time low.
The Dow Jones industrial average posted its 11th loss in 12 days after a pair of discouraging economic reports further unnerved traders already concerned about a possible exit from the euro by Greece.
The Dow lost 156.06 points, most of it toward the end of the trading day, to close at 12,442.49. It is down almost 6 percent for May, and what had been a strong year for stocks has been reduced to a slender 1.8 percent gain.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index closed at its lowest point since Jan. 17.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note hit 1.69 percent. That is lower than any 3 p.m. reading since at least 1953, according to records kept by the Federal Reserve.
According to other financial data providers, including Dow Jones and Bloomberg, the yield on the 10-year dipped slightly lower, to 1.67 percent, at other points in the trading day last September.
"It's still seen as one of the safest investments in the world," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott. "If you compare Europe's problems to our problems in the U.S., it doesn't look so bad over here."
The dollar and gold both rose as traders sought refuge in lower-risk assets.
Stock indexes opened lower on Wall Street following drops in European markets. The declines accelerated at mid-morning after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region for the first time in eight months. The report was far worse than analysts had been expecting.
In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19.94 points to 1,304.86, its lowest close since Jan. 17. The Nasdaq composite fell 60.35 points to 2,813.69.
It is not much of a welcome for Facebook, which starts trading Friday in one of the most talked-about debuts in the history of the U.S. stock market.
Facebook set its price at $38 per share, which would raise $18.4 billion for the company and value it at $104 billion — more than Amazon.com and much more than long-established names like Disney and Kraft.
In Europe, Fitch ratings agency downgraded Greece deeper into junk territory on Thursday and warned that a Greek exit from the euro currency is "probable" if new national elections next month produce an anti-bailout government.
Fitch cut Greece's rating by one notch, from B- to CCC, the lowest possible for a country that is not in default.
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.