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S&P 500 Turns Negative for the Year

It was a seesaw day for stocks, which remained very sensitive to all the news headlines related to Japan's nuclear crisis, and sent the S&P 500 to negative territory for the year.

The CBOE Volatility Index popped and crossed 31 for the first time since July due to continued uncertainty over the nuclear situation in Japan. The VIX is now at its highest levels in over 8 months.

At first, stocks dropped mid-afternoon after the U.S. and U.K. governments issued warnings to its citizens living in Japan. The U.S. government urged citizens residing within 50 miles of the Fukushima nuclear plant to evacuate, while the U.K. advised its own citizens to leave Tokyo and any areas north of Japan’s capital.

Then, markets partially recovered as a hopeful AP news report crossed that Tokyo Electric Power is close to establishing a new power line that could help restore electricity to run the water pumps at the nuclear power plant.

But the momentum couldn't be sustained, and stocks closed near the lows of the day. As a result, both the S&P and Nasdaq had their worst 3-day losing streak since August, while the Dow had its worst 3-day streak since end of June/beginning of July. Each index is down more than 3.5% over the past 3 days.

That decline has also put the S&P 500 into negative for the year for the first time in 2011. Of the major indices, only the Dow is clinging to gain on the year.


Only three S&P 500 sectors remain in positive territory for 2011 (energy, industrials and consumer discretionary).

It was a seesaw day for stocks, which remained very sensitive to all the news headlines related to Japan's nuclear crisis, and sent the S&P 500 to negative territory for the year.

The CBOE Volatility Index popped and crossed 31 for the first time since July due to continued uncertainty over the nuclear situation in Japan. The VIX is now at its highest levels in over 8 months.

At first, stocks dropped mid-afternoon after the U.S. and U.K. governments issued warnings to its citizens living in Japan. The U.S. government urged citizens residing within 50 miles of the Fukushima nuclear plant to evacuate, while the U.K. advised its own citizens to leave Tokyo and any areas north of Japan’s capital.

Then, markets partially recovered as a hopeful AP news report crossed that Tokyo Electric Power is close to establishing a new power line that could help restore electricity to run the water pumps at the nuclear power plant.

But the momentum couldn't be sustained, and stocks closed near the lows of the day. As a result, both the S&P and Nasdaq had their worst 3-day losing streak since August, while the Dow had its worst 3-day streak since end of June/beginning of July. Each index is down more than 3.5% over the past 3 days.

That decline has also put the S&P 500 into negative for the year for the first time in 2011. Of the major indices, only the Dow is clinging to gain on the year.


As for the Dow 30, half of the index’s components are in the red for 2011.

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