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Stocks slide, following European markets lower

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013

News about Italy also helped drive traders into the safety of U.S. government bonds, pushing benchmark yields to their lowest level this month. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.85 percent, a steep fall from 1.91 percent late Tuesday.

In other trading, seven of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index fell. Two groups that investors tend to buy when they want to play it safe, utilities and health care, made slight gains.

The Nasdaq composite inched up one point to 3,253.

The S&P 500 closed within two points of its all-time high of 1,565 on Tuesday, helped by rising home prices and orders for manufactured goods. The stock index hit that peak on Oct. 9, 2007, before the Great Recession and a financial crisis roiled financial markets.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Cliffs Natural Resources, an iron ore mining company, plunged 15 percent, the biggest loss in the S&P 500. Analysts warned that falling iron ore prices would likely sink the company's stock. Cliffs fell $3.14 to $18.29.

— Science Applications International Corp. surged 5 percent after the security and communications technology provider reported a fourth-quarter profit that was better than analysts were expecting. SAIC also announced a special dividend of $1 per share. Its stock gained 58 cents to $13.40.