Actually, it could have been worse. Stocks opened sharply lower (the Dow was down 180 points early on), then pared back all but about 40 points, then began creeping down. At the close the Dow was off 97 points, to 13,835. The six-day slide is the longest since last August. On a certain base level, stocks trade on news, and with earnings season drawing to a close, and with no major economic reports being released, it's the the European debt crisis that gets most of the attention. Whether investors are really worried that Spanish stocks fell to an 8 1/2-year low is not clear, but it's moving the market and that's what counts. From the WSJ:
Investors were whipsawed throughout the day by continuing political negotiations in Greece, and worries that the troubled Mediterranean nation wouldn't get its latest package of bailout funds. But those worries were assuaged by the end of the European trading day, helping pare some of those losses. Late in the U.S. trading day, the euro-zone governments said they would release €4.2 billion in previously agreed financing for Greece, but held back €1 billion that will be paid out by June, depending on Greece's funding needs. The decision appears to reflect worries by some governments that the political backlash against austerity is threatening to undo the bailout deal Greece negotiated with the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund just months ago.