Eurozone debt concerns push Dow below 10,000

THE Dow industrials closed below 10,000 for the first time since November yesterday as investors sold bank shares due to heightened concerns about the eurozone’s sovereign debt troubles.

Bank of America shares lost more than three per cent, while JPMorgan slipped 1.6 per cent, and Citigroup shed 2.2 per cent.

The S&P financial index dropped 2.2 per cent as the KBW bank index dipped 1.5 per cent.

Concerns about the fiscal stability of Greece, Portugal and Spain have rattled global markets over the last two weeks, curbing the appetite for riskier assets.

“The market is still being pressured by concerns about Europe, and banks are being pressured more so because of their possible exposure to the sovereign debt issues, specifically that of Greece,” said Frank Pavilonis, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.

Wall Street has slid through critical levels, with the Dow now back below 10,000 and the benchmark S&P 500 now off 8.1 per cent from its 15-month closing peak of 19 January 19. The S&P 500 is still up 56.2 per cent from its March 2009 bottom.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 103.84 points, or 1.04 per cent, at 9,908.39. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 9.45 points, or 0.89 per cent, at 1,056.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 15.07 points, or 0.70 per cent, at 2,126.05.