US stock market suffers worst day of 2012

GlobalPost

Wall Street suffered its worst day of 2012 on Tuesday as soft global economic growth and doubts over whether Greece will be able to coax enough creditors into a critical debt swap swelled.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell by about 203 points, or roughly 1.6 percent. The S&P 500 fell by about the same percentage, National Public Radio reported.

The drop was the worst for the Dow since Nov. 23 and left the average at 12,759. It was only last week that the Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, four months before the worst of the financial crisis, The Associated Press reported.

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Tuesday's declines came as European markets suffered their worst losses in more than three months amid increasing worries about a swap of Greek debt by private creditors and weak signals on economic growth, the Wall Street Journal reported

Growth in Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, also slowed, and China cut its 2012 target for economic growth on Monday, according to the Journal.

“Global growth fears now are hitting home, and we're seeing selling across the board,” Matt Zeman, a market analyst for Kingsview Financial, told the AP.

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The price of gold fell $31.80 per ounce, or 2.1 percent, to $1,672.10 per ounce. Silver, platinum and copper all fell more than 2 percent because of concerns about Europe and weaker economic demand in China, according to the AP.

Yields on U.S. government debt also fell as investors moved their money into what they perceive to be a safer asset. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.96 percent from 2.01 percent late Monday. Bond yields fall when their prices rise, the AP reported. 

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