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Thursday, 15 December 2011 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: -131.46 Level: 11823.48 NASDAQ PointChange: -39.96 Level: 2539.31 NQ100 PercentChange: -1.6 R2K PercentChange: -1.3 SP400 PercentChange: -1.6 SP500 PointChange: -13.91 Level: 1211.82 NASDAQ-Adv:902 Dec: 1672 NYSE-Adv:844 Dec: 2195 BRIEFING.COM] The stock market's third straight tumble has it down more than 3% this week. The downward path comes as participants revert to a negative bias bolstered by the absence of progress related to the improvement of Europe's precarious conditions.

For three straight days the path of least resistance for stocks has been downward. Negative sentiment has been induced by a muddled and tenuous macro outlook. Moreover, participants are growing weary of the lack of progress by Europe's leaders in restoring economic and financial conditions in both the core and periphery of the continent. That has provided fodder for rumors of further sovereign debt downgrades in the region.

Dwindling confidence in the region has the euro on a downward path. It dropped to an 11-month low, before stabilizing and finishing the session with a 0.4% loss at $1.298.

Efforts to pare risk extended to commodities, causing the CRB Index to drop 3.4%. The CRB hasn't had such a poor performance since September. Among the more closely tracked commodities, gold futures prices fell 4.6% to settle at $1587.70 per ounce, while silver futures prices were pressed to $28.86 per ounce for a 7.6% loss. Crude oil ended down 5.2% at $94.95 per barrel -- a smaller-than-expected weekly inventory draw didn't help.

The combination of sharply lower oil prices and broad market weakness made energy plays today's poorest performers. The sector slid almost to a loss of almost 3%. Everything from exploration plays to drillers to refiners were caught up in the sector's sell-off.

Benefiting from the drop in oil prices, airline shares ascended in the face of broad market weakness. Meanwhile, financials managed to limit losses to a collective decline of only 0.3%, despite the possible implications if problems in Europe persist, let alone worsen.

Treasuries extended their gains. Another strong auction helped. Results from an offering of 30-year Bonds drew a bid-to-cover of 3.05, dollar demand of $39.7 billion, and an indirect bidder rate of 32.5%. For comparison, an average of the past six auctions gives a bid-to-cover of 2.62, dollar demand of $36.4 billion, and indirect bidder participation of 31.6%.

Advancing Sectors: (None)
Declining Sectors: Health Care -0.2%, Financials -0.3%, Consumer Staples -0.5%, Telecom -0.6%, Utilities -0.8%, Industrials -1.1%, Consumer Discretionary -1.2%, Materials -1.2%, Tech -1.7%, Energy -2.7%

Source: Briefing

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