- Dow Jones Industrial Average down 213.66 (-1.65%) to 12,715.93
- S&P 500 down 23.61 (-1.71%) to 1,358.59
- Nasdaq Composite down 55.86 (-1.83%) to 2,991.22
- Nikkei 225 down 0.09%.
- Hang Seng Index down 1.15%.
- China Shanghai Composite Index up 0.88%.
- FTSE 100 down 2.24%.
- DAX down 2.49%
U.S. stock indices plummeted Tuesday, with the Dow dropping over 200 points as worries from all over the globe caused investors to liquidate their positions. In Europe, a surge in government bond yields for Spain and Italy rekindled worries about the eurozone crisis, and in the U.S., the kick-off of first quarter earnings, which analysts expect to be disappointing, were big contributors to today's sector-wide sell-off.
Adding more ammunition to the downside momentum, China reported that imports grew less than expected in March, despite a trade surplus, feeding concerns of a potential slowdown. China's trade surplus rose last month to $5.35 billion as an 8.9% increase in exports over year-ago levels exceeded a 5.3% rise in imports. Median estimates were for a monthly trade deficit of $3.5 billion, according to data compiled by FactSet. Overall, China shipped out $165.66 billion of goods last month while importing $160.31 billion, according to the General Administration of Customs.
The one bright spot today was the Commerce Department's report that wholesale inventories rose 0.9% in February, easily topping the 0.5% growth expected by experts polled by Dow Jones and follows upwardly revised 0.6% growth in January. Inventories of durable goods rose 0.5%, while inventories of non-durables increased 1.4%.
In company news, shares of Ship Finance International (SFL) slipped following the company's announcement that it agreed to terminate chartering agreements with Horizon Lines Inc. (HRZL) as it undertakes a restructuring process that will result in Ship Finance becoming a larger stakeholder in the company. SFL is to receive $40 million in second lien notes issued by Horizon Lines and warrants exercisable into 10% of its common stock.
Supervalu (SVU) surged after the grocery chain jumped the gun and reported Q4 earnings and guided FY13 profits above the analyst consensus. EPS, ex items, was $0.38 for the fiscal quarter ended Feb. 29, versus expectations of $0.35 a share. Looking ahead, SVU is forecasting earnings of $1.27 to $1.42 a share or as much as 19.3% above the $1.19-a-share gain analysts, on average, are expecting.
Gold futures ended a see-saw session in positive territory, turning positive in the last hour of trading to add over 1% and end at $1,660.70 an ounce. Crude-oil futures, meanwhile, sunk to their lowest since February. They closed down 1.2% at $101.02 a barrel.
(+) NBG, Greek bank expected to soon sell Turkish affiliate, Finansbank.
(+) AKRX, Gains U.S. regulatory approval for generic anti-diarretic
(-) VVUS, FDA review of Qnexa anti-obesity drug delayed.
(-) VPHM, Rival Akorn cleared to sell generic version of its Vancocin medication.