As we saw on Friday, things sure could have been a lot worse. Despite flirting with positive territory during the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) posted another decline today, but a surprise negative reading on U.S. factory orders pushed the index down only 0.15%, or 17.1 points.
In a departure from recent trends, today's trading session actually featured some redemptive storylines. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closed in positive territory, with the Nasdaq increasing 0.5% and the S&P just barely eking out a minuscule gain of 0.01%. Such small gains probably seem wholly insignificant, but given the recent dearth of positivity in the market, well, investors should be thrilled with anything in the green. The market's "fear gauge," or the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX ) , also encouragingly retreated 2% on the day.
Despite these mild results, the market's quickly approaching a make-or-break month in Europe that could further the slide in global markets and even lead the Greek exit from the currency bloc, a storyline that originally flared almost two years ago.
In major news, social-networking wunderkind Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) plummeted another brutal 3% today. This marks another new low for the company as investors remained concerned about the viability of its business model, even as new reports surfaced today that Facebook is thinking about allowing children under age of 13 to open profiles. Adding insult to injury, research firm Bernstein assigned an "underperform" rating and a price target of $25 on Facebook.
Similarly, shares of Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN ) dropped 7.6% today, which marks a new low for the stock. Groupon, whose insider lockup period ended on Friday, has shed almost 17% since insiders gained rights to sell their shares.
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