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Thursday, 17 November 2011 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: -190.57 Level: 11903.16 NASDAQ PointChange: -46.59 Level: 2638.07 NQ100 PercentChange: -1.8 R2K PercentChange: -1.8 SP400 PercentChange: -1.4 SP500 PointChange: -20.90 Level: 1235.94 NASDAQ-Adv:682 Dec: 1880 NYSE-Adv:720 Dec: 2309

[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks rolled over in the final hour of trade to logg sizable losses. The move lower coincided with a retreat by the euro.

The major equity averages opened trade today with marked losses, but stocks gradually worked their way up to the neutral line. The lack of leadership left stocks to lose momentum and drift back into negative territory.

Selling accelerated in the final hour, right around the time that the euro began its pullback from positive territory. The euro, generally a barometer of confidence in the eurozone, had been down against the greenback in morning trade, but eventually mustered a modest gain. That move proved unsustainable, though, as it forfeited its gain to trade with a 0.3% loss against the dollar by session's end.

Although it wasn't a revelation, analysts at Fitch reminded market participants about the risk of contagion by suggesting that domestic banks could be hurt if the fiscal and financial problems of Europe worsen. For now, though, the analysts have a stable outlook on the U.S. banking industry. In contrast, analysts at Moody's downgraded credit ratings on 10 banks in Germany, which is Europe's strongest, most diversified economy.

Financials had been relatively weak all session and, perhaps appropriately, suffered some of the steepest losses. The sector's 2.5% drop was driven by shares of large-cap diversified financial services players like Bank of America (BAC 5.90, -0.23), which set a new monthly low.

Even energy stocks were imbued by broad market weakness, despite a rally by oil prices to a multi-month high above $100 per barrel. The energy component closed pit trade more than 3% higher at almost $102.60 per barrel, but energy stocks, as a group, logged a 1.5% loss.

Tech stocks tried to offer support on a few occassions, but efforts were repeatedly checked by sellers, culminating in a 1.5% loss for the largest sector by market weight. Dell (DELL 15.25, -0.38) was a steady drag after its tepid guidance cast a pall over an upside earnings surprise.

For the second straight session data did little for traders. The economic calendar featured an October Consumer Price Index that slipped by 0.1%, which is not too different than the consensus call for no change. Core prices made a 0.1% increase, just as had been generally expected. Separately, industrial production increased in October by 0.7%. That exceeded the 0.4% increase that had been broadly expected.

Advancing Sectors: (None)
Declining Sectors: Consumer Staples -0.8%, Utilities -1.3%, Tech -1.5%, Energy -1.5%, Industrials -1.5%, Telecom -1.6%, Health Care -1.8%, Consumer Discretionary -1.9%, Materials -2.4%, Financials -2.5%

Source: Briefing

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