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Biggest Three-Day Drop in Almost a Year

S&P Gives Up 2010 Gains

The markets today are building on this week's losses - looking to finish a poor week on a down note. Today's declines have now pushed the S&P 500 into the red for the year (down 0.8% YTD), and have also extended the year's losses for the Dow & Nasdaq (both down 1.2% YTD). Despite hitting 15-month highs just three days ago, the markets are set for their 3rd weekly decline in the just the past 4 weeks, with the Dow flirting with its worst week since last May.

Day Three Brings No Buying Spree

Good earnings have failed to be a catalyst for the markets this week, with U.S. banks worries and interest rate jitters in China mostly overshadowing the better corporate reports. Also present today: uncertainties over whether the Senate will confirm another term for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. That's given investors little reason to buy stocks today, pushing the markets down for the third straight day.

The Dow is now on pace for its worst 3-day losing streak since the beginning of March, while the S&P heads for its worst 3-day drop since mid-May. Additionally, the Nasdaq is poised for its worst 3 days since the end of October.

While the declines this week have been modest, they are still far from being alarming. Still far from correction levels, take a look at how the major indices have performed over past 3 days:

Dow Industrials -4.02%

Dow Transports -3.63%

Dow Utilities -4.21%

S&P 500 -3.88%

Nasdaq Composite -3.38%

Russell 2000 -3.44%

Here's the performance over the last 3 days of various stocks in key sectors that have been in focus this week:

Regional banks have outperformed bigger financials on the belief that the smaller banks are less affected by President Obama's financial reform proposals.

Regional Banks

Huntington Bancshares +10.70%

Fifth Third Bancorp +8.60%

SunTrust Banks +8.65%

KeyCorp +7.25%

Comerica +6.60%

Synovus Financial +5.60%

Zions Bancorporation +4.15%

(Note: Comerica, Fifth Third, SunTrust are all hovering near 52-week highs)

Big Banks/Large Financials

Morgan Stanley -9.85%

JPMorgan Chase -7.53%

Bank of America -6.86%

Goldman Sachs -6.30%

Citigroup -5.65%

Commodity stocks have been largely under pressure as a result of worries over tighter lending policies in China. Higher interest rates would help contain inflation, but would likely slow the country's strong growth and curb demand for commodities (and subsequently ease commodity prices).

Massey Energy -12.34%

U.S. Steel -12.32%

Alcoa -12.24%

Rio Tinto -11.81%

IAMGOLD -11.64%

AK Steel -10.43%

Freeport McMoRan -9.63%

BHP Billiton -8.01%

Big tech names have been under pressure after investors "sell on the news" following a number of stronger earnings reports over the past week.

AMD -10.71%

Micron -8.75%

IBM -5.31%

Cisco Systems -5.03%

Hewlett-Packard -4.44%

Yahoo -4.42%

Texas Instruments -4.35%

Google -4.19%

Microsoft -4.04%

Intel -3.37%

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