Stocks tumble on Greek debt fears
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.