Dow falls 297 as Greek turmoil batters stocks

Financial markets globally slump after Greece talks about holding a referendum on its debt bailout. Bank stocks sag; Bank of America junks its debit-card fee. Commodities tumble after the failure of MF Global. October auto sales underwhelm.

By Charley Blaine Nov 1, 2011 1:02PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 3:15 a.m. ET

Stocks slumped Tuesday for the second day in a row as a plan for Greece to hold a referendum on the terms of its financial rescue threatened to scuttle Europe's grand bailout plan.

U.S. stocks were down more than 2.4% on the news, with the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) briefly off more than 300 points. German and French stocks fell more than 5%, and British stocks tumbled more than 2%.

Despite all the worry about Greece and European Union, Wednesday appears to be setting up for a rebound rally. Futures trading suggests the Dow will open up more than 80 points, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) rising nine points.

Tuesday's market rout was prompted by Greek Prime Minister's George Papandreou's proposal to let Greeks vote on the austerity plans required to comply with its financial rescue took markets entirely by surprise -- not to mention the eurozone nations that had labored deep into the night last week to craft the plan. Papandreou's decision may lead to a collapse of his government, the Guardian newspaper reported, causing more turmoil across the continent. He faces a vote of confidence on Friday.

The Dow closed down 297 points, or 2.5%, to 11,658; the blue chips had been down as many as 321 points. The S&P 500 was off 35 points, or 2.8%, to 1,218, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had fallen 77 points, or 2.9%, to 2,607.

Article continues below.

Adding to the market's stress Tuesday were October sales reports that missed estimates from General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F), as well as slumping commodity markets in the wake of MF Global's bankruptcy filing on Monday. Gold (-GC) briefly dropped below $1,700 an ounce; crude oil (-CL) in New York fell to as low as $89.17 a barrel.

The Dow has fallen 4.7% in two days of trading, with the S&P 500 off 5.2% and the Nasdaq down 4.8%. The two-day losses were the worst since Sept. 21-22.

The sell-off came after a strong performance for U.S. stocks in October. It comes ahead of a Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy due Wednesday morning. (Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference afterward.)


Also due Wednesday are the ADP National Employment Report, which is a measure of private-sector employment trends, the Challenger Gray Christmas report on layoffs and the weekly report on oil inventories.


Earnings results due include reports from Kraft Foods (KFT), News Corp. (NWSA), MasterCard (MA), Time Warner (TWX) and Transocean (RIG).

Here's a little something to cheer about: The S&P 500's 2.8% decline was not the worst for the first day of November trading in the index's history. The worst was a 5.26% decline in 1929, followed by a 2.87% decline in 1932.

To rank among the 10 worst days on the first day of any month would have required a 2.97% decline, according to Standard & Poor's Howard Silverblatt.


Pfizer is the one Dow stock to show a gain
Only one of the 30 Dow stocks was higher Tuesday: pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE), up 0.4% to $19.33. Pfizer's third-quarter results came in much better than expected, as sales of its medicines accelerated in emerging markets and in the nutritional products and animal health businesses it plans to divest.

The drugmaker raised its full-year 2011 profit forecast to $2.24 to $2.29 a share after one-time charges. It also reaffirmed its projection of $2.25 to $2.29 a share in earnings for 2012. That's even after ceding sales from its $10 billion-a-year Lipitor cholesterol fighter once cheaper generics begin flooding U.S. pharmacies on Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, only 20 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by online travel site Expedia (EXPE), up 4.3% to $27.38.

All 10 sectors of the S&P 500 were lower. The best performers, relatively speaking, were utility stocks, a reflection of their ability to pay dividends. Financial, energy and industrial stocks were the market's weakest sectors.

Expedia was the top stock in in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), which tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks. The other gainers were Seagate Technology (STX), up 1.8% to $16.25, O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), up 0.5% to $76.45, and Costco Wholesale (COST), up 0.1% to $83.35.

The index was off 62 points, or 2.6%, to 2,298. Apple (AAPL), down 1.6% to $398.40, was responsible for five points of the index's loss.

Energy prices -- New York close



Month chg.

YTD chg.
Crude oil (-CL)




(per barrel)

Heating oil (-HO)




(per gallon)

Natural gas (-NG)




(per mil. BTU)

Unleaded gasoline (-RB)




(per gallon)

Brent crude 




(per barrel)

Retail gasoline




(per gallon; AAA)

Treasury yields drop on Greek worries
The Greek situation sent many investors scurrying for safety on Tuesday. The euro fell 1.25% against the dollar. Treasury yields dropped; the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2% from Monday's 2.175%.

Gold, meanwhile, settled down $13.40 to $1,711.80 an ounce after falling to as low as $1,681.20 an ounce. Silver (-SI) settled down $1.623, or 4.7%, to $32.266 an ounce.

Copper(-HG) dropped 13 cents to $3.5025 a pound. But the decline had more to do with a report suggesting a continuing trend of slowing growth in China.

Light sweet crude oil in New York settled down $1, or 1.1%, to $92.19 a barrel, a bit of an improvement over this morning when it hit $89.17. Brent, the benchmark North Sea crude, was down $2.85 to $106.71. The spread between U.S. crude and Brent has shrunk from more than $25 a barrel two weeks ago to less than $15.

What was Papandreou thinking?
The conventional view of the Greek situation is that George Papandreou had abdicated responsibility for proposing a referendum on the Greek rescue plan.

His announcement, late Monday, appeared to cut the knees out of the bailout plan negotiated last week and set the stage for real chaos. At one point, it looked as though the referendum was off. However, as a cabinet meeting late Tuesday, Papandreou repeated his vow to hold the referendum. (He also replaced the top brass in Greece's armed forces.)

"We expect the crisis to build," Capital Economics, a British consulting firm, wrote Tuesday, "prompting a prolonged recession in the eurozone, further turmoil in the markets and, at some point, the end of the euro itself in its current form."

The more cynical view is this: Greece can't afford the rescue plan. It's in the midst of a major recession. And the only real solution may be to junk the euro as its currency and work through its problems with a lower-valued currency.


Papandreou starkly put the point of the referendum in a transcript of the cabinet meeting obtained by Bloomberg News: "The dilemma isn't 'this or another government'," he told his ministers. "The dilemma is 'yes or no to the loan accord,' 'yes or no to Europe,' 'yes or no to the euro.'" 

Financial stocks are slammed

The practical effect of the problem, however, was to batter financial stocks in Europe and the United States.

Societe Generale (SCGLY), the big French bank, was trading down 14.5% to $4.96 in New York. BNP Paribas (BNPQY) was off 12% to $19.71. Deutsche Bank (DB) was off 7% to $38.50.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) was down 5.9% to $32.71. Citigroup (C) was off 7.7% to $29.17.

It should be noted that Bank of America (BAC) ended its plan to charge customers $5 a month for using their debit cards. Shares were down 6.3% to $6.40.


JPMorgan and Bank of America were the worst Dow performers Tuesday.

Auto sales not as robust as hoped
Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda Motor (HMC) reported U.S. sales declines for October, when they pledged to record their first increases since April. General Motors and Ford Motor said their deliveries rose less than analysts’ estimates.

Toyota said sales slid 7.9% to 134,046, while Honda deliveries slipped 0.5% to 98,333, according to separate e-mailed statements. GM sales rose 1.7% to 186,895 and Ford light-vehicle deliveries gained 6.2% to 167,502, falling short of estimates by analysts who projected at least 6.6% increases for each. analyst Jessica Caldwell said GM's results were depressed by weak sales to rental-car companies and the like. Retail sales were stronger, she told Bloomberg Television. She thinks sales could be relatively strong through December.

Total deliveries for the month increased 7.5% to 950,165. The closely watched seasonally adjusted annual sales rate rose to 13.2 million units, up 8% from a year ago and in line with the consensus estimate. There had been hopes the sales rate would hit as high 13.9 million.

The pace, which dipped below 12 million in May and June after Japan’s tsunami disrupted Toyota and Honda output, may now be challenged as Thailand’s floods disrupt that country's supply of parts.

Toyota stock was off 2.2% to $65.26. Honda ended up 0.7% to $30.10. GM, which reports quarterly results in a week, slumped 9.8% to $23.33, and Ford fell 5.1% to $11.08.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



Month chg.

YTD chg.
Treasury yields

13-week Treasury bill




5-year Treasury note 




10-year Treasury note




30-year Treasury bond





U.S. Dollar Index




British pound




(in U.S. $)

U.S. $ in pounds




Euro in dollars




(in U.S. $)

U.S. $ in euros

€ 0.729

€ 0.721


U.S. $ in yen 




U.S. $ in Chinese





Canada dollar




(in U.S. $)

U.S. dollar 




(in Canadian $)





Gold (-GC)




(per troy ounce)

Copper (-HG)




(per pound)

Silver (-SI)




(per troy ounce)

Wheat (-ZW)




(per bushel)

Corn (-ZC)




(per bushel)





(per pound)





(per pound)

Crude oil (-CL)




(per barrel)


Nov 1, 2011 1:51PM
I'm sick of hearing about Greek default. Take our losses and run. They spend more evey day in that conflict in Packistan then Greese owes us!! Get back to bussiness and take care of your own country and stop trying to be the worlds police force !!! This whole Wall Street thing makes me sick, up one down the next. All Wall Sreet does is munipulate things the way they want it to be . Speculators in the market ought to be shut out, close the doors on them. We don't need Irans oil, and we sure as hell don't China's cheap substandard products, Get America back to work and we can take care  of ourselves. Done bitchin !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 1, 2011 1:12PM

GM misses forecast? 

No way,sales down?

This is very unexpected news today as we are doing so well as a nation and all the improvements that have been made on hope and change administration.

Nov 1, 2011 1:36PM
I have lost all hope and I only have change in my pockets. Time for him to go.
Nov 1, 2011 3:23PM

Don't worry about this current tanking... In the next day or two, after the Wall Street Crooks have made BILLIONS on short selling, the market will suddenly rebound and guess what they will attribute THAT to.


"The good news about the financial situation in Europe and Greece."


That, you can TAKE to the BANK, guaranteed good as gold.  And put it right next to the mountain of money those scamsters made.  The market will go up for a few days on good news, then it will start all over again.


Nov 1, 2011 1:46PM
Here is the problem that no one has manged to say. We are worried about what other countries economies look like or what foreign country is going to default. Lets start to worry about the US economy and what is happening here and the rest of the world will be fine. Make cities start to hire only local contractors and keep the money local and this will in turn make for stonger local economies that will result in a stronger US economy and so on. The world depends on the US but our analyst are worried about everybody else.
Nov 1, 2011 1:36PM
What form of jackass would put the health of the entire Euro-world in jeopardy by allowing the spoiled Socialists of Greece to take over their fates? It is time to allow Greece to fail, and let the Socialists eat cake!  The U S banks would be better to write down the 160 million they foolishly lent to those jerks and go forward.  I'm sick of seeing my own, and those retirement funds of my fellow citizens, go down the toilet because Geitner and the One World bunch failed to show the backbone to say "No" to the Socialists of the world (Obama and friends) !!
Nov 1, 2011 1:30PM

Well recovery Summer has come and gone...

How bout a recovery Winter..?

Haw, that aint gona happen either...

How bout we let Greece default and start the world turning in

the right direction again..?

Just a

Nov 1, 2011 1:26PM
We have gained absolutely nothing in the stock market. They are keeping us down by the ludicris ups and downs.
Nov 1, 2011 3:55PM
Let them default and get it over with !!!!!
Nov 1, 2011 4:05PM
Here we go again...Dealer wins!  Darn, the House is so lucky! Ladies and Gentlemen (suckers) place your bets...

I heard that our real deficit is not over 14 trillion dollars, but more like 40 trillion dollars! The wealthiest Americans control 41 percent of all the USA's wealth.

I am not against people making money but there is something very wrong and profoundly disturbing about this situation. In my opinion, unbridled capitalism is just as evil as any totalitarian Communist regime. 

When an American CEO "earns" (LOL) over 1,000 times the salary of an average worker in the company he "leads" (as opposed to a Japanese CEO earning just over 20 times the salary of an average worker in his company), you know we are fast approaching moral bankruptcy. These are statistics from a book I read about the tragic demise of our country, written over 20 years ago!!

These are terrifying times, more so because our government is divided, indecisive, and thoroughly controlled and corrupted by Big Business. Everything from the Executive Branch to the Legislature to my favorite (LOL) branch, the Judiciary is now almost thoroughly rotten to the core.

A few weeks ago, I saw a news report on one of our state-run television news programs. The commentators were gravely talking about Italy's massive deficit of over 1 trillion dollars! (Italy, population @ 62 million; USA, population @300 million with a REAL deficit of 40 trillion dollars). Here's a suggestion - instead of talking and lecturing about other nation's economic mistakes, try focusing inward on our nation's chronic economic recession.

I have lost faith in the integrity and objectivity of our news media too. They are, after all big corporations in themselves, controlled by powerful individuals who feed the masses only what they want us to hear.

Even old fashioned hard work will not get you anywhere these days in the USA. My single parent friend slaves as a fast food restaurant manager, putting in 50 hours a week for just under 40k a year (before taxes of course). with 3 kids. He pays for child care and does not qualify for any type of assistance because his income is "too high." Of course, our government has no problem forgiving the hundreds of millions of dollars in debt owed to us by violent and corrupt third world nations.

 Meanwhile, the Billionaire Club's attitude is "let them eat cake." They go on buying ever more useless and obscene items like 500, 600, and 700 million dollar yachts, 100 million dollar homes, and countless other outrageous toys, while my neighbor's
78 year old diabetic mom lives on $725 dollars per month. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge people making money, but this is again, unbridled capitalism. Americans always hear about the minimum wage being unsustainable and "entitlement" programs (which are not entitlement programs because We The People pay for these programs from salary deductions) being unsustainable. 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans control 41 percent of the nation's wealth. Shame on our politicians for allowing this, we have lost our way and I am really not sure we will ever be the country we were again, no matter how many glowing pep talks our leaders give to thundering applause in Congress. :-(

Nov 1, 2011 3:41PM

News flash- Wall Street brokers make money whether things go up or down. The crazy swings allow brokers to short things in down slides and make money by cashing out on other accounts during quick up swings in the market. The large roller coaster we are on is nothing they wish to see end. The average person takes the hit on the downslides (401k and lack of quick selling/buying option similar to professionals) and barely breaks even when things move up as the fees we pay to brokers take up most of the profits. The Greece situation has been used to boost up the market than crash it down depending how it is positioned by the media. What is different this week in Greece than last week - absolutely nothing but last week we focused on the EU bailout and this week their debt. All BS to make Wall Street MONEY.



Nov 1, 2011 1:27PM

only hope and change that will help is

I hope we change our president for someone with experience 

Nov 1, 2011 2:22PM

The investment by US banks (and their related entities) in the euro zone is estimated in the Trillion dollar range.  They could have invested in the US market - for better or worse.  

I believe we need to allow simple economics to play out - no more bailouts -and then start a new game on a level playing field.  The US government should not intervene in ANY markets, nor provide support (ie: bailout) of US companies/banks that made poor investment decisions.  Economics 101 - no government interference.

The US needs to allow ALL the markets go their way, good or bad.  Invest in the US, buy US goods and services, and stay home.      

Nov 1, 2011 3:43PM
Let the Greeks default ,europe would-be better off and so would the rest   the rest of the world.
Nov 1, 2011 3:34PM
The GREAT DEPRESSION continues ,5 years in & 5 YEARS TO GO ,the Recession went into a Depression in 2008 , 2 years as a Recession & 3  years as a DEPRESSION ,NOW 5 more years as a DEPRESSION ,
Nov 1, 2011 1:47PM
How do u get a hundred point swing in a matter of minutes?  I could see a negative market losing another 100 points but an upswing of 100 so quick? Hmmmm..........
I say we ditch that Euro alltogether. It has done nothing much for us in Ireland except bring the price of everything we buy thru the roof. I say lets go back to our irish pound just like the british and tell the Germans and the french to stuff their euro.The Germans own us now due to our own bailout and dont care how much it cost the avergae joe n Ireland to pay that back due to their so called austerity meausures.I want Ireland back for irish people not the Germans nor the French nor those morons in Brussels.Lets take our country back.
Nov 1, 2011 5:55PM

I am so tired of this stock market crap....In my opinion, it is all manipulation by the powers that be. If oil goes up the stock market goes down....There is a crisis in Greece and the stock market goes down...Yada, yada, yada.....We are all at the mercy of the people pulling the strings. Wall Street is the biggest joke out there and we are all left holding the bag literally....

I will let you all use your imagination as to what is in the bag......We need to put everyone on Wall Street and in Washington DC on a slow boat to China.......

Nov 1, 2011 3:54PM



Nov 1, 2011 2:30PM
MF Global failed to protect customer accounts by keeping them separate from the firm's funds, a top U.S. regulator said, as administrators to the collapsed brokerage's UK arm scrambled to close out billions of dollars worth of client positions.

The fall of the group -- lead by ex-Goldman Sachs boss Jon Corzine -- sent shockwaves through commodities markets, as traders feared the damage could spread, or similar problems occur with other players.


Another major financial crisis which has lost billions of customers dollars and guess what..their leader is ex-Goldman Sachs boss Jon Corzine...what a surprise!  When will the SEC crack down on these crooks.  But Corzine and his cronies in jail and throw away the key but they better do it fast before he goes and lands a new gig so he can fleece some more investors out of their life savings.  This is just another example of the total corruption that is in the American financial system and NOBODY is doing a thing to control or stop it so it will only continue.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.



Quotes delayed at least 15 min
Sponsored by:


There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Sponsored by: