Stocks recouped some of their losses in a volatile trading session Friday but still finished lower as investors digested a handful of headlines from the euro zone and ahead of a key confident vote in Greece.
Stocks snapped a five-week winning streak, with major indexes down 2 to 3 percent across the board.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished lower, led by BofA and Intel .
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed lower. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended above 30.
All 10 S&P sectors ended in negative territory, led by financials and health care.
Stocks were under pressure all day following comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said few countries in the G20 had committed to participating in Europe's bailout fund.
Greece continued to dominate headlines as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a confidence vote in Parliament that could determine whether his country will stay in the euro zone or leave the single currency and default on its debts.
Meanwhile, Greece's finance ministry said the nation has dropped its plans to hold a referendum, which had threatened to plunge the debt-ridden into a crisis.
On the economic front, U.S. employment rose 80,000 in October, which was less than a gain of 95,000 that economists had expected, according to a Reuters poll, but the jobless rate slipped to a six-month low of 9 percent. In addition, an upward revision to the prior months' job gains pointed to underlying strength in the jobs market.
"Today's report should be welcome relief in a week of earth-moving headlines out of Europe," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading. "The question remaining is consistency. The recent macro data, and the dip below 400K in jobless claims warrants much-deserved optimism—Traders should cheer this report."
Among earnings, AIG tumbled after the insurer missed results following an impairment charge in its aircraft leasing unit.
Starbucks rallied after the world's largest coffee chain posted earnings that were better than expected.
On the tech front, AMD slipped after the microprocessor maker said it is slashing almost 1,4000 jobs amid a weak PC market and manufacturing delays.
Clearwire jumped after Sprint it plans to offer notes in a private transaction that it could use to fund the Internet service provider.
Groupon soared nearly 50 percent at its market debut after the online group discount company priced its IPO at $20, above the expected range of between $16 and $18.
Meanwhile, Jon Corzine resigned from his postas chairman and CEO of MF Global following the firm's bankruptcy filing earlier this week. A slew of reports followed on speculation about the whereabouts of hundreds of millions of dollars in missing client funds. Among the latest headlines, JPMorgandenied claimsthat it was holding the missing money.
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Coming Up Next Week:
MONDAY: Consumer credit
TUESDAY: NFIB small biz optimism index, McDonald's October sales, 3-yr note auction, EU finance ministers meet; Earnings from Toyota, Activision Blizzard, Take Two Interactive
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, wholesale trade, oil inventories, 10-yr note auction, AT&T/Sprint back in court, Citigroup settlement hearing; Earnings from Anheuser Busch, GM, HSBC, Macy's, Ralph Lauren, Wendy's, Cisco, Green Mountain
THURSDAY: International trade, jobless claims, import & export prices, 30-yr bond auction, MF Global bankruptcy proceedings; Earnings from Kohl's, Disney, Nordstrom, Nvidia
FRIDAY: US Holiday—Veteran's Day. Markets open, banks closed. Consumer sentiment, French short sale ban ends
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