By Carlos Guillen
Quite remarkably, equity markets entered winning territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up just a few points. This came as a surprise given the sharp fall in stocks at the start of today's trading session that had the Dow down close to 70 points. But we've gone back into negative territory now.
The main culprit for the sharp drop in stocks earlier today stemmed from Europe, as most equity markets there were significantly lower. Worries over the political situation in Italy hurt sentiment across European markets today, as the renewed popularity of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi brought back fears of financial chaos in his country. Investors are certainly concerned of the rapidly increasing possibility that Berlusconi may be back in the driver's seat, putting an end to austerity measures, a clear negative not only for the Italian economy but also for the entire European Union.
Adding to the European wall of worry was anxiety over the upcoming meeting of European Central Bankers to discuss monetary policy. At the moment, the central bank is widely expected to keep rates constant and refrain from introducing new measures.
Comments from the CBO have certainly not impressed investors either. While the office projects GDP growth of 1.4 percent for 2013, investors may have been hoping for more.
At the moment the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is down less than five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,506. Utilities and health-care stocks fell the most among the S&P 500 sectors, offset by gains in consumer-discretionary and technology stocks. While equities have been recovering from earlier lows, the volatility is likely to continue throughout the rest of session.