Stocks declined Wednesday as the euro got a boost from news that Greece was considering leaving the European Union.
Industrials were the day's worst performers, along with consumer discretionary and materials. Health care and telecoms were the best performers.
The Dow was down about 80 points at mid-morning, led by Caterpillar , Boeing and DuPont.
Bank of America and JPMorgan were the top two gainers on the Dow.
The euro clawed backagainst the dollar and other currencies amid buzz in the market that Greece is considering leaving the European Union. A spokesperson for Greece categorically denied the debt-riddled nation is considering such a move.
Earlier, the euro hit a four-year low against the dollar after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the euro was in dangerand as Germany banned naked short sellingof some securities.
This came as the SEC released proposed new rules on single stock trading, to prevent a stock being driven down to a penny like some were during the May 6 market freefall. And Congress is about to make a preliminary vote on financial reform.
Oil popped above $69 a barrelafter a report showed crude inventories rose by just 200,000 barrels last week, far less than expected. Earlier, crude had fallen to around $68.
Gold continued its descent to back to earth, falling below $1,200 an ounce. The precious metal recently went as high as $1,250.
Hewlett-Packard advanced after beating earnings expectations and raising its full-year outlook.
Target also topped forecastsas consumers have begun to spend more on discretionary items such as clothing and electronics.
This came as Walmart reported a same-store sales declineas more shoppers are trading up.
Lawnmower maker Deere also topped forecasts and raised its full-year outlook.
Chips retreated after an early pop. The sector took a beating on Tuesday amid buzz that overseas sales of computers and gadgets may not live up to expectations.
Still, Sterne Agee initiated coverage of Apple with a "buy" ratingand slapped a $300 price target on the stock, saying it doesn't see a slowdown for the iPhone and iPad maker.
Consumer prices slipped 0.1 percentin April and were flat excluding volatile food and energy costs. This came after the Labor Department reported Tuesday that the producer price index rose 0.2 percent last month.
Some dismal news on the housing front: Mortgage applications tumbled more than 27 percentto their lowest level since May 1997 as the government stimulus expired, and one in seven U.S. mortgages is now deliquent or headed for foreclosure.
Still to Come:
WEDNESDAY: FOMC minutes; Google developers’ conference; earnings from Applied Materials after the bell
THURSDAY: Toyota/NHTSA hearing; BOJ monetary policy meeting; weekly jobless claims; leading indicators; Philadelphia Fed survey; earnings from Computer Sciences, Gamestop, Staples, Dell, Gap
FRIDAY: Earnings from Ann Taylor
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