S&P 500 index has first down week of 2012

Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index had its first down week of 2012, ending the week 0.2 percent lower than Feb. 3, as Greece and other concerns led investors to pull back today, the Associated Press reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 89.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12801.23. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index slid 9.31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1342.64, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 23.35 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2903.88.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

The losses were the worst day for the stock market since Dec. 28, interrupting a rally that has brought each of the major indexes up about 20 percent in the last four months. All 10 of the S&P's sectors were lower, led down by materials and energy.

“Investors are responding to the sudden change in direction or the lack of resolution of the Greek/European problem that they felt was resolved,” Frederic Dickson, who helps oversee $28 billion as chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Ore., told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Greeks responded to the package of austerity measures the Greek government passed yesterday with a general strike and protests today, while European finance ministers said the cuts didn’t go far enough, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

More from GlobalPost: Greece starts 48-hour general strike

Other issues nagged at investors, too. The US trade deficit in December turned out to be $48.8 billion, slightly wider than the $48.5 billion expected by economists, according to the Wall Street Journal. And S&P downgraded 34 Italian banks today, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

"Greece weighed on the market, but the market needed an excuse," Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, told the Wall Street Journal. "It's overbought. This was as good as an excuse as one could want."
 

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