Stocks Turn South on Fear That Cyprus Is the New Bailout Blueprint

For a moment, it appeared the bailout of Cyprus would send stock markets to new highs after the S&P 500 rose to within one point of its all-time record close. But investors reconsidered their bullish disposition, and by 3:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 0.49%, while the S&P 500 was down 0.36%.

As I warned yesterday, banks are having an especially tough time with Cyprus' bailout. Bank of America has fallen 1.4% today, and JPMorgan is down 0.7%. The major hit big depositors took in Cyprus could lead to falling deposits in European banks, especially after Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said this may be the new bailout template for Europe. If it is, Europeans could rush to banks to pull money out, and we all know how harmful bank runs are to the industry.

Bank of America and JPMorgan are so intertwined with global banks that the increased risk in Europe is a negative for both companies. Unless Spain, Italy, or Portugal ends up in the same boat as Cyprus, these banks aren't in any serious trouble, and there's a strong possibility that Cyprus was a big enough warning sign to make other countries get their fiscal houses in order.

On the plus side, UnitedHealth has bucked the downtrend to gain 0.8% today. The company was awarded an acute-care contract through Arizona's Medicaid system, replacing Vanguard Health Systems. This is a big win for the company, expanding its ever-growing scale around the country.

It's worth noting that gold has barely moved today, adding just $2 to $1,606 as I write. Gold was the hot commodity when currency fears erupted, but it doesn't appear to be as hot as it was the last time crisis was looming in Europe.

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