Stocks tum­ble on Greek debt fears

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT -

Un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Greece’s debts helped knock the U.S. stock mar­ket lower Thurs­day as an im­passe be­tween Greece and its cred­i­tors dragged on. The drop put ma­jor in­dexes on track for a weekly loss. Oil and gas stocks had some of the big­gest losses as the price of crude sank 3%.

Hank Smith, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer at Haver­ford Trust, said he thinks Greece and its cred­i­tors will even­tu­ally reach an agree­ment that al­lows the coun­try to re­ceive new loans. But just the pos­si­bil­ity that Greece could de­fault on its debts and be­come the first coun­try to drop the euro cur­rency makes in­vestors ner­vous.

“It cre­ates a tremen­dous amount of anx­i­ety be­cause we don’t have a play­book,” Smith said. “It just hasn’t hap­pened be­fore.”

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex lost 18.23 points, or 0.9%, to fin­ish at 2,095.84. All 10 in­dus­try groups in the in­dex fell, led by Du Pont and other ma­te­ri­als com­pa­nies.

The Dow Jones industrial av­er­age fell 170.69 points, or 0.9%, to 17,905.58 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite lost 40.11 points, or 0.8%, to 5,059.12.

Be­fore the mar­ket opened, J.M. Smucker re­ported a loss in its lat­est quar­ter even though sales climbed. The maker of Fol­ger’s cof­fee said higher prices for cof­fee beans and a strong dollar pinched re­sults. Smucker’s stock fell $4.44, or 4%, to $113.75.

A re­port that Dish Net­work is talk­ing to T-Mo­bile US about a pos­si­ble merger sent both stocks up. Dish’s stock jumped $3.44, or 5%, to $74.25, while T-Mo­bile’s surged $1.01, or 3%, to $39.34.

A meet­ing be­tween Greece’s prime min­is­ter, Alexis Tsipras, and the head of the Euro­pean Union’s ex­ec­u­tive arm failed to yield an agree­ment to re­lease vi­tal loans. Greece told the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund that it would post­pone a pay­ment due Fri­day and bun­dle it with three other pay­ments at the end of June.

Ma­jor Euro­pean mar­kets fin­ished broadly lower, eras­ing gains made ear­lier in the week. Ger­many’s DAX sank 0.7%, while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.9%. The FTSE 100 in­dex of lead­ing Bri­tish shares lost 1.3%. Greece’s main in­dex slumped 1.3%.

U.S. gov­ern­ment bond prices rose, push­ing Trea­sury yields down. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note dropped to 2.31% from 2.36% late Wed­nes­day.

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