It looks like this could be more than just a case of the Mondays. After a run of bad news from the weekend and this morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is trading down 1.21% at noon EDT. Could Gluskin Sheff chief economist and strategist David Rosenberg have been correct when he declared, "We are living in a modern day depression"? Here's a quick recap of the big news.
Spain requested a bailout to the tune of $77 billion to capitalize its failing banking sector. Just over two weeks ago, the European Central Bank offered Spain up to $125 billion, so the request was mostly a formality. In the meantime, analysts are reporting more and more pessimism toward Europe. Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, wrote, "Even the optimists now say openly that Europe will only solve its problems when the alternatives look sufficiently bleak and time has run out." Investors seem to agree, viewing the upcoming EU summit with trepidation.
Elsewhere around the world, the four biggest emerging markets face incredible currency depreciation, their worst stretch since 1998. Currencies from Brazil, Russia, and India are weakening the most among developing nations, while the Chinese yuan is suffering through its worst decline since 1994. The four countries could easily see sharp decreases in growth rates that would cause worldwide aftershocks. Given that the market is still digesting a poor outlook from the Fed last week and anticipating a Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare sometime this week, it looks like investors need to be particularly cautious in the foreseeable future.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) is the only Dow stock to post gains after earning a place on Dividend Channel's "S.A.F.E. 25" list of stocks. Investors are interested in this company due to its potential for revenue growth during economic slowdowns. This defensive stock has a decent yield with bundles of cash to sustain it during extended economic slowdowns.
Financials were hit especially hard today, with Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) dropping 3.55% so far today, while JPMorgan Chase slipped 2.61%. The eurozone uncertainty is also affecting construction giant Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , which dropped 3.11% despite reports of new home sales rising. As it's the fifth-highest-weighted stock in the Dow, Caterpillar's losses carry extra weight.
And last but not least, tech stumbled again today, particularly floundering partners Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Intel. Microsoft fell 2.57% on continued worries about how the release of its Surface tablet would affect its relationships with partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Acer. Additionally, the tablet is currently set to sell for $999, a pricy premium that has investors worried about both Microsoft and Intel, the latter down 2.3%.
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