The benchmark 10-year Treasury soared 1 6/32, lowering the yield to 1.621% and the greenback rose 0.7%, according to the dollar index.
London's FTSE 100 settled down 1.7% and Germany's DAX closed down 1.8%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index settled down 1.9% and the Japan's Nikkei Average closed down 0.3% after China's official news agency said the Chinese government does not plan to carry out another round of large scale stimulus.
"We have those three bugaboos out there - China slowing down, the European situation, and the old fiscal cliff in the U.S.," said John Fox, co-manager of the FAM Value FundIn U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported that the April U.S. pending home sales index fell 5.5% to 95.5, the lowest level since December, from a downwardly revised 101.1 in March. Still, the index for April is elevated from the same time last year, when it sat at 83.5. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected pending home sales to rise 2%.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
|Your one-stop shop for 2012 stock recommendations and market predictions.
In corporate news, Research In Motion (RIMM) late Tuesday forecast an operating loss for its fiscal first quarter. The BlackBerry maker added that it expects its "financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters." RIM also said it has hired bankers to help with its review of its strategic options and that it planned to make "significant" reductions in its work force. The stock finished down about 7.8%. Shares of Facebook (FB), the social networking giant, closed lower again on Wednesday, sliding 2.3%. The stock, which is fast becoming a favorite of short sellers, lost nearly 10% of its market capitalization on Tuesday amid reports that it's was possibly planning to make a run at acquiring Norway's Opera Software. At Wednesday's low of $27.86, the shares were down nearly 27% from the IPO pricing of $38 each. Pep Boys (PBY) shares dropped nearly 20% after the Philadelphia-based auto parts and services company agreed to terminated its merger deal with buyout firm Gores Group, which is paying Pep Boys $50 million in fees as reimbursement for merger-related costs.
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