Stocks declined Thursday as the dollar gained, curbing investors' appetite for riskier trades. Financials were among the hardest hit.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 132.86, or 1.3 percent, to close at 10,308.26. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each dropped 1.2 percent.
All 10 key S&P sectors finished lower. Materials, financials and consumer staples were the day's worst performers. Utilities, energy and telecoms were the best.
The losses come a day after the Federal Reserve reiterated its special liquidity measures would expire early next year, dragging bank stocks down.
The dollar hit a three-month high versus the euro and was generally stronger across the board following slightly optimistic assessment of the U.S. economy from the Fed. Plus, worries about Greece dragged on the euro.
Oil settled below $72 a barreland gold dropped nearly $29 to settle at $1,106.80 an ounce.
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for jobless insurance unexpectedly rose 7,000to a seasonally adjusted 480,000 last week.
After some debate, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was confirmed for a second termby the Senate banking committee; the vote was 16 to 7.
Banks took a hit after analyst Meredith Whitney slashed her earnings forecastfor Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and as Citigroup's secondary offering was priced below expectations at $3.15 per share.
The Treasury followed that news with word that it would not participate in that offering. It issued a statement saying it expects to divest the government's ownership stake in Citi over the next 12 months.
Citigroup shares tumbled more than 6 percent, while Goldman and Morgan were off 2.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Bank of America shares slipped 2.8 percent after the bank named Brian Moynihan as President and Chief Executive Officer as of year's end. He will succeed the retiring Kenneth Lewis.
Shares of FedEx dropped more than 6 percent after the shipping giant delivered a forecast that fell short of expectations.
Pepsi shares slipped more than 1 percent after the soft-drink giant said it won't advertise during the Super Bowlnext year, snapping a 23-year streak, so it can focus on its new marketing plan, which is mostly online.
Elsewhere, Harley-Davidson shares came under pressure after Goldman Sachs added the motorcycle maker to its conviction sell list.
It's yet another light day on the earnings calendar but things will pick up after the bell, with reports from a slew of tech names: Oracle, PalmResearch In Motion and Take-Two Interactive.
Volume was slightly above average: 1.72 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Decliners outpaced advancers, roughly 11 to 4.
Friday brings quadruple witching, the quarterly expiration of options and futures, which typically adds volatility to the market.
THURSDAY: Bank of Japan monetary policy meeting; Bernanke confirmation vote; weekly jobless claims; leading indicators; Philly Fed survey; Earnings from FedEx, Rite Aid, Oracle, Palm and RIMM
FRIDAY: Bank of Japan meeting continues; U.S. budget deadline; quadruple witching
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