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S&P 500 Has Biggest Decline Since Dec.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

U.S. stocks retreated, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest decline since December, after a report showed that the European economy contracted and as concern grew about the success of a Greece swap deal.

All 10 groups in the S&P 500 declined as commodity, financial and industrial shares had the biggest losses, falling at least 1.8 percent. Alcoa Inc. (AA), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) decreased more than 3.1 percent. The Morgan Stanley (MS) Cyclical Index of companies most-dependent on economic growth slumped 2.4 percent as all of its 30 stocks retreated.

The S&P 500 lost 1.4 percent to 1,345.58 at 11:02 a.m. New York time, slumping 2.1 percent in three days. Only 17 stocks out of 500 in the benchmark gauge rose. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 169.83 points, or 1.3 percent, to 12,792.98. About 2.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today.

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