Global stocks, euro slip as Europe concerns mount

Fri May 11, 2012 5:00pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stocks retreated on Friday as uncertainty over Europe's festering debt crisis overcame an early bounce driven by better-than-expected U.S. consumer sentiment, while oil prices fell after weak data from China reduced demand expectations.

Safe-haven government debt rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling for the eighth straight week. Whether Greece can remain in the euro zone and concerns about the health of Spanish banks spurred buying.

The euro retreated against the U.S. dollar late in the session on news that the Greek Socialist party leader had been unable to form a national unity government after holding last-ditch talks with rivals.

Data showing U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than four years in early May lifted shares earlier in the day, but concerns over Europe and JPMorgan Chase & Co's (JPM.N: Quote) $2 billion trading loss led equity markets to retreat.

"Today there is a flight to safety; Greece is not resolved, Spain is not resolved," said Lou Brien, market strategist with DRW Trading Group in Chicago.

"And JPMorgan adds a bit of concern simply because they were assumed to be the well-run bank, and if this sort of thing could happen there, where else could it happen?" Brien said.

JPMorgan's stock fell 9.3 percent to $36.96, the biggest drag on the S&P 500 index. The next-biggest drag was Citibank (C.N: Quote), down 4.2 percent at $29.35.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 34.44 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 12,820.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX declined 4.60 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,353.39. But the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC inched up just 0.18 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to end at 2,933.82.   Continued...

A trader on the IG Group dealing floor looks at his screens in the City of London October 27, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett