This was indeed a day for the bears, and a session spent on edge. "Today marks the fifth consecutive day of downward momentum," said Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "The S&P 500 Index (SPX) fell below its 14-day moving average for the first time since December 2011, and is now below the key 1,375 level."
Click through to see what else was on our radar today:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,715.93) suffered its fifth consecutive loss today, spiraling 213.7 points, or 1.7%, lower -- its largest percentage drop in 2012. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) tacked on 0.6% and was the only blue chip to turn in a gain, while the 29 losing components were led by Bank of America's (BAC) 4.4% slide.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,358.59) backpedaled 23.6 points, or 1.7%, losing its perch above the key 1,375 level in the process. This marks the SPX's worst performance of the year.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,991.22) endured the largest decline of its fellow benchmarks, and hacked off 55.9 points, or 1.8%. This is the COMP's first close below 3,000 since March 12, and its biggest percentage loss of 2012.
Today's highlight: "The close of today's session marks the beginning of the first-quarter earnings season. Projections have been ratcheted down in recent months and tonight's report from Alcoa (AA) will be the start of a highly anticipated round of reports," noted Bell.
Turning to equities in focus...
And, in case you missed it, columnist Adam Warner described how options speculators are betting on Google's (GOOG) after-hours earnings report. Click here to read his observations.
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
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