U.S. stocks slid, capping the worst May for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1940, while the euro slumped and Treasuries rose as a downgrade of Spain’s debt rating and escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula triggered a flight from riskier assets.
The Dow tumbled 122.36 points, or 1.2 percent, to 10,136.63 at 4 p.m. in New York and lost 7.9 percent this month. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sank 1.2 percent to 1,089.41, led by financial shares on the Spanish downgrade and energy companies after U.S. President Barack Obama extended a moratorium on new deep-water drilling. Oil erased gains after rallying as much as 1.6 percent to more than $75 a barrel. Ten-year Treasury yields decreased 7 basis points to 3.3 percent. The euro slipped 0.7 percent to $1.2273.
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Equities and commodities extended losses after Fitch Ratings stripped Spain of the AAA rating it’s held since 2003, saying the nation’s economic growth will slow as it attempts to cut its debts. Earlier losses followed disappointing U.S. economic data and a North Korean general’s warning of “all-out war” if any accidental clashes with South Korea break out.
“Spain’s downgrade just adds to more uncertainty,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist for Newark, New Jersey- based Prudential Financial Inc., which oversees about $667 billion. “There are too many geopolitical events. We have a three-day weekend in the U.S., and traders will definitely want to lighten their books.”