After moving sharply lower at the open, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory after closing higher in each of the two previous sessions.
The initial weakness on Wall Street came amid continued concerns about the European debt crisis as European leaders hold a two-day summit in Brussels. Most traders are not optimistic about the summit resulting in any meaningful solutions.
Further selling pressure was seen following the announcement of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare reform law, including the law's individual insurance mandate.
Gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 3 percent. The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a sharp drop by the price of the precious metal, with gold for August delivery falling $25.30 to $1,553.10 an ounce.
Significant weakness is also visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 2.6 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index. Banking, computer hardware, and airline stocks are also posting steep losses amid broad based selling pressure.
Meanwhile, healthcare provider stocks have moved sharply higher following the Supreme Court ruling, driving the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Provider Index up by 2 percent.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 156.89 points or 1.2 percent at 12,470.12, the Nasdaq is down 44.69 points or 1.6 percent at 2,830.63 and the S&P 500 is down 16.33 points or 1.2 percent at 1,315.52.
by RTT Staff Writer
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