The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) extended its losing streak to four, finishing down 44 points, or 0.3%, but still faring better than the S&P 500's 0.6% decline and Nasdaq's even worse 0.8% slide. Volatility ticked up today as well. Much like the economy, it appears to be stuck in a holding pattern, scraping near the bottom of its 52-week lows -- but today, holders of the VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN (NYSE: TVIX ) gained more than 6%. Of course, that asset is outside the realm of investors and more in the wheelhouse of traders.
Apparently, traders don't like watching protests in Spain and Greece (or Green Bay, for that matter) escalate into riots. It reminds them how tenuous the situation is in Europe between the required austerity measures and the citizens that have to suffer through them (or between replacement refs and reality). Even under the best conditions, Europe is likely to limp along as a constant source of worry (hopefully the NFL and NFLRA will soon hammer out a deal), and reminders of its powder-keg nature will periodically spook the markets. Unless something fundamentally changes, though, it shouldn't alter your investment thesis for individual stocks.
On the Dow, more than two-thirds of its components finished in the red. The worst offenders were almost all financials -- unsurprising given that a eurozone meltdown would be particularly tough for that sector. The largest decliner was American Express (NYSE: AXP ) , down 1.7%, while the ever-volatile Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) sold off a slightly less 1.2%, both on above-average volume. Insurance company Travelers also saw more than a 1% decline, while Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) finished only slightly better, down 0.8% on the session. The risk for financials isn't country-specific exposure, but what would happen if any one EU member balked at the austerity. It could destabilize the entire monetary union.
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