Stocks Continue To Post Steep Losses In Mid-Afternoon Trading - U.S. Commentary

Stocks continue to see significant weakness in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday after moving sharply lower earlier in the session. The major averages have climbed off their worst levels of the day but remain firmly in negative territory.

Concerns about the financial situation in Europe continue to weigh on the markets amid worries about rising Italian and Spanish bond yields as well as the results of a new poll showing the anti-bailout Syriza party in the lead in next month's elections in Greece.

Disappointing U.S. economic data is also helping to keep stocks in the red, with a report from the National Association of Realtors showing that pending home sales unexpectedly saw a notable decrease in the month of April.

Oil service stocks continue to turn in some of the market's worst performances amid a sharp drop by the price of crude oil. With crude for July delivery falling $2.87 to $87.89 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 3.9 percent.

Significant weakness also remains visible among housing stocks, which were dragged lower following the disappointing pending home sales data. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index is down by 3.5 percent after trending higher in recent sessions.

Natural gas, steel, electronic storage, and networking stocks also continue to post steep losses, moving lower along with most of the major sectors.

The major averages have climbed well off their lows for the session in recent trading but remain stuck in the red. The Dow is down 133.28 points or 1.1 percent at 12,447.41, the Nasdaq is down 27.07 points or 0.9 percent at 2,843.92 and the S&P 500 is down 15.42 points or 1.2 percent at 1,317.00.

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