US stocks fall on Eurogroup head comment


US STOCKS fell yesterday on renewed concerns about the developments in Cyprus and the Eurozone, which wiped away earlier gains that drove the S&P 500 index to less than a point away from its record close.

Stocks fell after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup of Eurozone finance ministers, said that Cyprus was a template for handling the region’s other debt-strapped countries.

Before his remarks, the Dow industrials hit yet another record intraday high and the S&P 500 edged closer to its highest closing level ever yesterday after negotiators reached a deal to keep Cyprus afloat with a financial bailout and avert the country’s possible exit from the Eurozone.

Banking shares were among the day’s top decliners. Shares of Morgan Stanley fell one per cent to $21.97 while Bank of America dropped

1.3 per cent to $12.40.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 64.28 points, or 0.44 per cent, to end at 14,447.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 5.20 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 1,551.69.

The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 9.70 points, or 0.30 per cent, to close at 3,235.30.

Earlier, the Dow climbed to an intraday record high of 14,563.75.

The S&P 500 rose to a session high of 1,564.91 – just a fraction of a point below its record closing high of 1,565.15 set on October 9 2007.

The CBOE Volatility Index, known as the Vix, Wall Street’s favourite barometer of investor anxiety, ended up 1.3 per cent at 13.74, off its intraday high of 14.61. Volume was roughly 5.8bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the 2012 average daily closing volume of about 6.45bn.

Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of about three to two.