New York: US stocks fell on Thursday as concerns grew about the deteriorating financial health of Greece and big telecommunications equipment companies reported weak results.
The cost of insuring Greek debt hit a record high after the European Union said Greece had larger budget deficits last year than anticipated. Moody’s downgraded Greece’s sovereign ratings, fanning investors’ fears that European national debt problems could derail the economic recovery.
Shares of the world’s top cellphone maker Nokia tumbled more than 14% to $12.83 after the company cut its profit outlook and delayed the launch of models to compete with the iPhone and Blackberry.
“The market was looking for a breather after such a strong rally and the factors that we are seeing today — the continued sovereign debt problems out of Greece and disappointing results from Nokia to Qualcomm to eBay — are good excuses,” said Steve Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 90.61 points, or 0.81%, at 11,034.31. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 10.94 points, or 0.91%, at 1,195.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 20.21 points, or 0.81%, at 2,484.40.
Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc gave a weak forecast for the current quarter and full year late on Wednesday, citing weak cellphone chip prices. Its stock fell 6.2% to $39.98.
Dow component Verizon Communications Inc shares dipped 1.8% to $29.03 after its earnings fell short of Wall Street expectations. Telecommunications rival AT&T fell 1% to $26.04.
Shares of eBay Inc also weighed on the Nasdaq, down 7.3% at $24.38 after the Internet auctioneer reported results after the bell on Wednesday.
Bank shares contributed to the market’s malaise. US President Barack Obama, speaking in New York, scolded Wall Street for risk-taking that led to the financial crisis and urged the banking industry to stop its “furious efforts” to block tighter regulations.
Bank of America shares were down 1.1% at $18.08 and JPMorgan Chase dipped 2.4% to $44.26.
An index of home builder shares rose 1.3% after data showed a bigger than expected increase in sales of used homes.