U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the lowest level in a month, as concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and lawmakers will fail to agree on plans to cut the American deficit.
Commodity and technology shares had the biggest declines among 10 groups in the S&P 500, falling at least 2.1 percent. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) slid 4.6 percent as the retailer reported a steeper loss. Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), a producer of chipmaking equipment, sank 7.5 percent as forecasts trailed estimates. Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF) retreated 2 percent and dropped below $10 intraday for the first time since March 2009.
The S&P 500 lost 1.7 percent to 1,216.13 at 4 p.m. in New York. Losses accelerated after it fell below 1,229.10, its closing level on Nov. 9 after sinking 3.7 percent. The gauge dropped below its 100-day average. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 134.86 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,770.73.
“It’s a risk-off day,” Michael Shaoul, chairman of Marketfield Asset Management in New York, which oversees $1 billion, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a lot of liquidation in the commodity space. You have the obvious story of European yields. The supercommittee may disappoint, but I don’t think this is going to be a main driving force behind this market. There’s too much stuff going on.”
Stocks fell as Reuters reported a euro-area official as saying there are no aid plans Italy from the European Financial Stability Facility. Spanish bonds sank, driving 10-year yields to the highest since the euro was introduced, as borrowing costs climbed at an auction. Republicans and Democrats on Congress’s supercommittee hardened their positions with less than a week until