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It's been quiet in the markets recently. In spite of woes in Europe continuing, markets have been steadily climbing since the end of May, though they've seen steady declines across the past six days. However, today the sell-off accelerated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is down 0.71% as of 2:50 p.m. EDT, following a major stock slide in Europe today. Looking beyond the Dow, the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) is moving in line with the Dow, down 0.67%, while the Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) is seeing the steepest decline, dropping 0.95%.
Let's take a look at what's causing market losses today.
Europe: the Advil is wearing off
It can't be said enough: Europe's "situation" isn't short-term. The continent is dealing with a crisis that boils down to whether the euro and other parts of the fiscal union survive. Each bailout is a Band-Aid, and the ultimate question is whether euro countries are willing to give up more fiscal (and political) control to a central authority that covers the eurozone.
The latest weapon in the fight for the eurozone's survival is the European Stability Mechanism, which as proposed would have 700 billion euros' worth of capital for bailouts across the eurozone. I say "as proposed" because the ESM still being challenged in Germany, where a Constitutional Court is set to rule on whether the country can support the ESM come Sept. 12. This poses two problems:
- The ESM could still be rejected, likely causing a large market fall.
- The ESM could be accepted, bringing aid to weakened countries, but it'd still be an incomplete step toward achieving fiscal union and does little to address Europe creating a political union (namely, the central backing that has made the United States such a powerful trade zone).
From this high level, we can see why negative economic news, especially out of Europe, can rock markets. The euro crisis might be dormant for weeks, but it's nowhere near over. So, a eurozone bedrock like Germany reports increased unemployment figures for a fifth straight month (as it did today), negativity will follow.
Moving on to markets
Looking at companies in the news, Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN ) is leading tech downwards with a 19% drop on the day. Ciena is in the telecom equipment space, an area which has been slammed for the past couple years as telecoms curtailed network build-outs and brutal price competition took hold. That price competition was evident in Ciena's margins, which were forecast well below analysts' expectation for next quarter.
Another big loser today is Cadence Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CADX ) , which is down 12%. The company was downgraded by researcher Leerink partly on valuation concerns, though it should be noted the stock is well down from 52-week highs. The researcher also had concerns about a patent trial for Cadence's drug Ofirmev, which is slated to begin in May 2013.
Keep the long-term view
That's it for today's checkup. While markets are sliding today, the good news is there are plenty of great stocks out there built for the long run. To discover some great dividend-payers in the Dow, check out our new report: "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It'll give you three great dividend-paying stocks with long-term greatness, but it won't be available forever. Just click here to grab your copy today!