Stocks slide as Greek talks stall

Los Angeles Times - - TECHNOLOGY - As­so­ci­ated press

Con­cerns over Greece’s latest ef­fort to avoid a de­fault weighed on U.S. fi­nan­cial mar­kets Mon­day.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age slipped 107.67 points, or 0.6%, to 17,791.17. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex slid 9.68 points, or 0.5%, to 2,084.43. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite lost 21.13 points, or 0.4%, to 5,029.97.

Mon­day’s slide got started early af­ter week­end ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Greece and its cred­i­tors failed to get the strug­gling na­tion closer to a bailout deal.

Greek lead­ers want to get ac­cess to the fi­nal $8.2 bil­lion of their bailout pro­gram that’s needed to re­pay debts and avoid a pos­si­ble de­fault that could trig­ger an exit from the euro; the bailout pack­age ex­pires at the end of the month.

“All eyes, in­clud­ing our own, are on Greece,” said Erik David­son, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for Wells Fargo Pri­vate Bank. “This is a grand experiment and if it were to go awry, it would cer­tainly have im­pli­ca­tions.”

In­vestors also got some dis­cour­ag­ing news from the Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of New York’s latest Em­pire State man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dex. This month’s read­ing fell to neg­a­tive 2, which means man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­ity is con­tract­ing. The re­port sug­gested that man­u­fac­tur­ers are still be­ing held back by a strong dol­lar and cut­backs in in­vest­ment by oil and gas drillers.

Traders did get some good news on the home­build­ing sec­tor. A sur­vey of U.S. home builders vaulted to the high­est level since last fall, and sep­a­rate mea­sures of builders’ sales ex­pec­ta­tions jumped to hous­ing boom-era lev­els.

The re­port helped lift shares of most home builders. Cal­i­for­nia builders Stan­dard Pa­cific and Ry­land Group, which an­nounced late Sun­day that they would com­bine this year, were among the big­gest gain­ers in the sec­tor.

Stan­dard Pa­cific added 47 cents, or 5.6%, to $8.83. Ry­land rose $2.23, or 5.2%, to $45.02.

Nine of the 10 sec­tors in the S&P 500 fell, with in­dus­tri­als stocks lead­ing the declines.

Bench­mark U.S. crude oil con­tin­ued to fall, los­ing 44 cents to close at $59.52 a bar­rel in New York. The con­tract hit a high for the year Wed­nes­day but has been fall­ing since then.

U.S. gov­ern­ment bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note fell to 2.36% from 2.39% late Fri­day.

Pre­cious and in­dus­trial met­als fu­tures closed mixed. Gold rose $6.60 to $1,185.80 an ounce, sil­ver rose 26 cents to $16.08 an ounce and cop­per fell 3 cents to $2.65 a pound.

In energy fu­tures trad­ing, Brent crude fell $1.26 to $62.61 a bar­rel, whole­sale ga­so­line slipped 2 cents to $2.10 a gallon and nat­u­ral gas rose 14 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

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