NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks plumbed new lows by mid-afternoon Thursday after the International Monetary Fund agreed to allow Greece to repay its debt later this month.
The S&P 500 was down 0.83%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.93% and the Nasdaq slid 0.88%.
Greece will miss its repayment due Friday of 303.3 million euros to the IMF and instead repay its four debt obligations in a lump sum at the end of the month. This will allow the debt-ravaged country more time in which to negotiate for extra debt relief from its European creditors. Greece needs to repay the IMF nearly 1.6 billion euros ($1.75 billion) this month.
The IMF said Thursday the Federal Reserve should wait until there are stronger signs of wage or price inflation in its annual review of the U.S. economy. The body forecasts that will likely happen in the first half of 2016. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates from near-zero crises levels in September.
"Based on the mission's macroeconomic forecast, and barring upside surprises to growth and inflation, this would put lift-off into the first half of 2016," the IMF said in its report.
Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo raised doubts over whether it would be appropriate to raise rates this year. he U.S. economy appeared to have "lost some momentum" and that it may not recover as quickly from a first-quarter slowdown as expected, Tarullo said at a conference in New York.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss current production levels and expectations for the global oil market which has seen prices plummet since last July. Economists widely expect members to keep production levels at record highs. West Texas Intermediate crude closed down 2.8% to $58 a barrel.
"The petroleum markets are focusing more closely on OPEC ahead of Friday's summit, with growing concern that a likely quota rollover will leave the global market with a significant ongoing surplus," said Citi analyst Timothy Evans.
The energy sector was one of the worst performers on Thursday. Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report, Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) - Get Chesapeake Energy Corporation Report, PetroChina (PTR) - Get PetroChina Company Limited Sponsored ADR Report, and BP (BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Sponsored ADR Report were all lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report fell 1.1%.
European markets were selling off as a global bond rout continued. German 10-year Bund yields hit a high of 0.995% earlier in the session, while U.S. 10-year bond yields jumped to 2.37%. The bond market has been in focus since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi made comments on Wednesday that volatility would remain.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against bogus company PTG Capital Partners and its principal Nedko Nedev, a resident of Bulgaria. Nedev allegedly was behind an SEC filing through the EDGAR system which purported a false bid on May 14 for Avon Products (AVP) - Get Avon Products, Inc. Report.
Dish Network (DISH) - Get DISH Network Corporation Class A Report spiked more than 5% on reports the company is discussing a potential merger with T-Mobile (TMUS) - Get T-Mobile US, Inc. Report. Discussions are in their early stages, according to The Wall Street Journal. T-Mobile shares added 3.7%.
Initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 8,000 to 276,000 in the week ended May 30, hovering at 15-year lows, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected the number of people applying for unemployment benefits to fall at a slower pace to 278,000. The less-volatile four-week moving average increased 2,750 to 274,750.
"The trend in claims, below the pre-recession trough for weeks now, remains in line with our forecast for continued tightening in labor market slack ahead and with our expectation for another solid payrolls print for May," said BNP Paribas analyst Derek Lindsey.
U.S. productivity in the first quarter fell by a revised 3.1% annual pace, according to the latest government data, a far steeper decline than a first estimate of 1.9%. Economists expected the measure to be revised to a 3% drop as the U.S. economy struggled with winter weather and West Coast port closures.
Rite Aid (RAD) - Get Rite Aid Corporation Report shares were lower despite a 2.1% gain in same-store sales in May. Total drugstore sales were up 2% to $2.53 billion and pharmacy same-store sales increased 3%.
Opko Health (OPK) - Get OPKO Health, Inc. Report fell more than 15% after announcing it will acquire Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI) for $52.58 a share or around $1.47 billion. The all-stock deal will see Bio-Reference shareholders receive 2.75 shares of Opko for every share they hold.
Costco (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report shares dropped nearly 1% after the warehouse retailer reported flat comparable-store sales in May. Comparable sales climbed 2% in the U.S., while international sales fell 4% due to the effects of gas prices and currency headwinds.
shares were down 3.7% after the company reported a mixed quarter. Net income of 98 cents a share narrowly missed estimates, while revenue of $1.44 billion surged 17.1% from a year earlier. Sales saw a big boost due to its fourth-quarter acquisition of pet foods brand Big Heart.