Stocks Fall for Fifth Straight Session


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks sustained deep losses Tuesday with eurozone worries once again front and center amid growing trepidation about Spain's economic stability.

All three major U.S. equity indices lost ground for a fifth straight trading session. Sentiment took an abrupt turn for the worse after European stock markets finished with sharp drops. Traditional safe havens drew buyers with bonds and gold on the rise.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 214 points, or 1.7%, to close at 12,716. The S&P 500 fell 24 points, or 1.7% to close at 1359. The Nasdaq plunged 56 points, or 1.8%, at 2991, surrendering the 3000 level for the first time since March 13.

The 10-year Treasury bond rose 18/32, pushing the yield down to 1.98%, its first trip below 2% since March 12.

Breadth within the Dow was extremely negative with only one of of the index's 30 components -- Hewlett Packard ( HPQ) --finishing higher.

Alcoa ( AA) was among the biggest blue-chip laggards, down 2.9%. The aluminum company reported a surprise first-quarter profit after the bell, and its stock caught a bounce in after-hours trading.

Profits came in at 10 cents per share on revenues of $6 billion on improved productivity and market conditions. Alcoa was expected to post a loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.77 billion. Shares were rebounding 4% in the extended session.

Bank of America ( BAC) saw the largest drop among the blue chips on Tuesday, falling more than 4%.

Caterpillar ( CAT), Walt Disney ( DIS), Boeing ( BA), General Electric ( GE), Home Depot ( HD) and Microsoft ( MSFT) all shed more than 2%.

On the New York Stock Exchange, decliners outnumbered advancers by more than 6-to-1 ratio, while the Nasdaq exchange had five losers for every gainer. The VIX, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, was up more than 8% at 20.39, breaking above the 20 level, which is seen as indicative of rising fear, for the first time since March 7. The index measures the implied volatility of options activity in the S&P 500.

The weakness extended losses on Monday in the wake of Friday's disappointing jobs report. The Dow posted its first finish below 13,000 since March 12 after the government announced that nonfarm payrolls increased 120,000 in March, far short of the consensus view for a 200,000 gain.

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