May 8, 2012 / 4:30 PM / 5 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St hits 2-month low on Greek uncertainty

* Greek official denounces bailout deal
    * McDonald's falls after April sales report
    * Fossil tumbles in biggest drop since 1995
    * Indexes off: Dow 1.2 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.5 pct

    By Edward Krudy	
    NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street tumbled to its
lowest level in two months on Tuesday as new questions emerged
over Europe's ability to fend off a deeper crisis in the
debt-stricken region.	
    The S&P 500 crashed through its lows for April, a level
traders had seen as support, and hit bottoms from early March.
The move was part of broad run to perceived safer assets.
 	
    Elections in France and Greece appeared to herald a new era
of opposition to government austerity, sparking new uncertainty
and came amid concern about economic growth in the United States
and China.	
    "It will probably mean that it's prudent to have a little
bit less risk exposure here," said David Joy, chief market
strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston. "You're probably
going to see a rotation into more defensive types of stocks."	
    Sectors sensitive to the economy floundered, with the S&P
consumer discretionary sector falling 2 percent.
Investors moved toward safety plays, and utilities and
telecommunications both fell just 0.2 percent.	
    Joy, who helps oversee $571 billion in assets, said he has
been cutting exposure to economically sensitive stocks to a more
market-neutral position over the last two months.	
    The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 156.21
points, or 1.20 percent, to 12,852.32. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index fell 17.37 points, or 1.27 percent, to 1,352.21.
The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 43.58 points, or 1.47
percent, to 2,914.18.	
    Dow component McDonald's Corp fell nearly 2 percent
to $93.68 after April same-store sales missed expectations.
Another Dow member, Walt Disney Co was scheduled to
report results after the bell. It was down 0.7 percent to
$43.52. 	
    Market losses mirrored trading in Europe, where the
FTSEurofirst closed down 1.7 percent. French and UK
stocks as measured by the CAC 40 and the FTSE 100 turned
negative for the year.	
    Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras began efforts to form a Greek
government by renouncing the terms of an international bailout
and threatening to nationalize banks. 	
    Meanwhile, the threat of a Franco-German split over policies
to tackle the region's debt crisis loomed after anti-austerity
Socialist Francois Hollande was elected French president.
 	
    "This is dragging the situation out even longer and makes it
less likely that the progress that has already been made will
continue," said Mark Foster, who helps manage $500 million at
Kirr Marbach & Co in Columbus, Indiana.	
    While Foster said the weakness has created some bargains, "a
lot of major U.S. companies have a lot of exposure to Europe and
we may continue seeing that weakness show up here."	
    Earnings season has given investors less and less reason to
be positive as the number of companies beating expectations
tailed off sharply from the early stages. And companies that
topped expectations have generally not raised their outlooks in
a sign of caution.	
    With 434 of S&P 500 companies reporting results as of
Tuesday morning, 66.8 percent exceeded estimates, according to
Thomson Reuters data. At the start of the earnings season, more
than 80 percent had beaten expectations.	
    Fossil Inc tumbled 37 percent to $79.24, its
biggest one-day decline since 1995. The fashion accessories
maker's revenues missed expectations and it cut its full-year
profit view. 	
    Electronic Arts Inc dropped 6.5 percent to $14.15 a
day after forecasting revenue below estimates.

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