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Monday, 03 October 2011 | 21:20

DJ30 PointChange: -258.08 Level: 10655.3 NASDAQ PointChange: -79.57 Level: 2335.83 NQ100 PercentChange: -2.5 R2K PercentChange: -5.4 SP400 PercentChange: -4.6 SP500 PointChange: -32.19 Level: 1099.23 NASDAQ-Adv:209 Dec: 2352 NYSE-Adv:294 Dec: 2789

[BRIEFING.COM] The first session of the fourth quarter saw plenty of selling pressure. The effort culminated in a sharp loss for stocks, which settled at new 52-week lows.

Stocks just booked their worst quarter in almost three years, but sellers aren't yet ready to let up. As such, action today opened in negative territory. Participants continued to take their cues from Europe, where Greece admitted that it does not expect to hit a deficit target and the eurozone's PMI Manufacturing Index for September slipped. Between Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, only the UK experienced an increase in its monthly Manufacturing PMI.

The major averages managed to lure some buyers into the fold with help from a dose of upbeat data. Specifically, the ISM Manufacturing Index for September improved to 51.6 from 50.6 when it was widely expected to slip to 50.5. Construction spending swung from a 1.3% decline in July to a 1.4% increase in August, contrasting with the consensus call for a 0.5% decline.

Still, stocks struggled to sustain their midmorning move into positive territory. Once stocks faltered, the broad market was never able to return to higher ground. The struggle invited additional selling pressure, which prompted a steady descent. Bleeding was broad, but financials suffered the worst loss of any major sector by falling 4.5%.

Airlines experienced a dramatic drop, led lower by AMR (AMR 1.98, -0.98), which was caught up in rumors about bankruptcy. The company stated, though, that it is not seeking a prepackaged bankruptcy.

Given such aggressive selling pressure this session, the S&P 500 broke below the 1100 line and settled there for the first time in little more than a year. Both the Dow and Nasdaq also booked 52-week closing lows, but neither breached their one-year intraday lows.

Amid such weakness, many participants sought safety. In turn, the dollar advanced 1.1% against a basket of major foreign currencies and the benchmark 10-year Note climbed about a point and a half so that its yield tumbled to 1.75%. Gold prices advanced more than 2% to almost $1758 per ounce.

Advancing Sectors: (None)
Declining Sectors: Consumer Staples -1.5%, Telecom -1.8%, Utilities -2.3%, Tech -2.3%, Materials -2.6%, Consumer Discretionary -2.9%, Industrials -3.0%, Health Care -3.2%, Energy -3.3%, Financials -4.5%

Source: Briefing

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