The Dow Tanks in the Final Hour


Today started off with favorable prospects, as European markets were enamored with GDP growth in Germany, which came in above expectations -- even though it wasn't a strong showing. With the day starting off at home with the release of April retail sales and consumer price index figures, it looked like Greek issues would hold off for the day. But Europe's ongoing issues resonated throughout the market, and the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were mixed throughout the day before heading down in the past hour and finishing with a 0.50% decline.

Greek depositors withdrew close to $900 million from local banks, increasing the dire situation the troubled nation is already facing. The banking system is already teetering on the edge of collapse, and the withdrawals will only magnify the issue, as deposits have been declining since the debt crisis began three years ago. Fears are growing over Greece's inability to form a coalition government, and its potential for exiting the eurozone is increasing in likelihood, causing even more uncertainty in an already volatile market.

Today's recap
Aside from seeing U.S. stock markets lose the day in the final hour of trading, today also saw oil and gold prices continue to fall. Futures for June crude fell 1.80%, setting the price back by 3.6% over the past five trading days. Oil prices are likely to continue their descent until encouraging news comes from overseas detailing a plan to curb debt levels or increase GDP.

JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) shares gained significantly today, up 1.26%, after being bashed the past few days since the bank announced a $2 billion trading loss. Groupon (NAS: GRPN) also continued its recent climb, up 3.71%, after announcing better-than-expected first-quarter earnings yesterday and an increased outlook for the next quarter, raising the daily-deal service's valuation by more than 19%.

Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) once again followed a strong session with a sizeable drop, down 5.61%. Chesapeake started today's slide over liquidity issues that the natural gas firm will experience after taking on a $4 billion loan.

After trading ended today, J.C. Penney (NYS: JCP) announced earnings and surprised the market with a worse-than-expected first-quarter loss. The company also announced a dim outlook for 2012, as new CEO Ron Johnson is running into more headwinds as he attempts to transform the company.

With negative news coming down the pipe at end of trading, look for tomorrow to by swayed by European complications, led by failed Greek coalition talks. With a large number of companies experiencing short-term losses because of international news, now is a great time to focus on winning companies with long-term prospects. Our analysts have a great rundown of three American companies primed to dominate the world by taking emerging markets by storm. Check out this free report now -- it's only available for a short time longer.

At the time thisarticle was published Joel South owns shares of no company listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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