Finally, the decision is here. This morning, the Supreme Court announced it will uphold the individual insurance requirement that made up the core of President Barack Obama's health care law. The mandate obliges most Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a financial penalty. Stocks reeled at the news, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) fell around 1% by noon and all 30 components were in the red. The pharmaceutical industry has generally supported the overhaul, which would help millions more Americans afford their medicines. Even so, health care giants Merck (NYSE: MRK ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) posted losses of 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively.
Uncertainty in Europe largely contributed to the losses on Wall Street, as European Union leaders grew increasingly skeptical that any meaningful progress would come of the crisis summit opening today. The euro hit a three-week low today, another sign pointing to further economic turmoil in the region. In London, the FTSE index dropped 0.6% over the pessimism. This drop was largely driven by Barclays' 15% drop after news broke of a hefty fine levied against the British bank for manipulation of interbank loan rates.
Barclays was not the only misbehaving bank making headlines, as JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) investors continued to receive bad news. This time, a report emerged that the recent losses from trading credit derivatives may total as much as $9 billion, far more than the previously reported figure of $2 billion. Shares plummeted 4.5% on the news, making JPMorgan the biggest loser on the Dow. The entire banking sector seemed to suffer by association, as Bank of America dropped 2.1% and Citigroup shares fell 3.6%.
Tech stocks dropped as well, with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) down 2.2% while Microsoft shares fell 1.8%. Microsoft has been suffering due to its heavy European exposure, as the company's software is largely pirated in the third world. And with more bad news coming from Europe every day, it is no wonder Microsoft shares are taking a hit.
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