Stocks slid on Wednesday as Greek debt woes, U.S. data and disappointing profit forecasts fueled bearish sentiment, putting the market back on its downtrend after a two-day rally.
Forecasts from companies, including Nucor Corp
Bank stocks and industrials helped lead the decline, with the KBW bank index <.BKX> down 2 percent, while manufacturer 3M
It's a confluence of events ... It just doesn't read well at all, said Robbert Van Batenburg, head of equity research at Louis Capital in New York. I don't see why people want to own stocks right now.
The CBOE volatility index <.VIX> jumped 13 percent and hit its highest level since March 23.
The core U.S. Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose more than expected in May, while the New York Federal Reserve's Empire State manufacturing index unexpectedly shrank in June, falling below zero for the first time since November.
The data confirmed views that the economy is getting weaker even as prices are rising. Those economic worries largely have been behind a roughly 8 percent slide in the S&P 500 since its near three-year high on May 2nd.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 158.33 points, or 1.31 percent, at 11,917.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 19.80 points, or 1.54 percent, at 1,268.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 36.09 points, or 1.35 percent, at 2,642.63.
Worries about the Greek debt crisis escalated as Moody's Investors Service said it may cut the credit ratings of French banks, citing exposure to Greek debt.
Moody's also said it may downgrade the ratings of some subsidiaries of Portuguese banks in Brazil.
Steelmaker Nucor issued a forecast that missed Wall Street's expectations, and its shares fell 1.6 percent to $40.06. Shares of Owens Illinois, the world's largest maker of glass bottles, tumbled 10.3 percent to $26.49 after the company cut its second-quarter outlook. The stock of No. 2 U.S. automaker Ford
The Nasdaq 100 <.NDX> broke below its 200-day moving average, and many traders expect the S&P 500 to test its March low near the 1,250 level.
The downward trend that's been in place for the last couple of months certainly remains intact, and I suspect it will remain intact until we get more concrete data with regard to the second quarter, said Thomas Villalta, portfolio manager for Jones Villalta Asset Management in Austin, Texas.
The S&P 500 rose on Monday and Tuesday after posting its sixth week of declines Friday.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)