Markets close below November's low as financials, tech companies fall
The S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent, closing at 779, while the Nasdaq fell 1.71 percent to close at 1,443. Financial companies and tech firms were among the biggest losers.
Insurers tumbled after Fitch Ratings downgraded divisions of Prudential Financial (PRU), Genworth Financial (GNW) and Principal Financial (PFG). Prudential, which lost its ability to sell short-term bonds to the U.S. government as a result, dropped 15.9 percent to $19.02. Genworth fell 18 percent to $1.59 and Principal shed 0.38 percent to close at $10.51.
Fears that the weakening economy could lead to increased credit card defaults also hurt Capital One (COF), which plunged 17.4 percent to $9.04. Discover (DFS) and American Express (AXP) also fell.
Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) declined the most of any of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Blue-chip tech stocks declined alongside Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which dropped 7.9 percent to $31.39 after saying first-quarter sales trailed analysts' estimates. Dell (DELL) and Sun Microsystems (JAVA) also fell, with each posting declines of more than 6 percent.