Markets fell during Friday’s shortened trading session as worries about European finances kept jittery investors off stocks. Across the Atlantic, as the USS George Washington moved into the Yellow Sea, a belligerent North Korea warned that the United States and South Korea’s joint military exercise could plunge the region into war.
The Dow average, the 30-share blue-chip average, dropped 95.28 points, or 0.85%, to 11092. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell more than 8 points, or 0.3%, to 2543.56. The widely followed S&P 500 index fell almost 9 points, or 0.8% to 1189.40.
Although Ireland’s acceptance of a bailout last week helped contain fears of a contagion, fresh worries emerged that Spain, too, would need a financial aid package. However, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the country was not seeking a bailout. Portugal, meanwhile, announced that it was initiating fresh austerity measures aimed at reducing debt even as investors continued to sell Portuguese bonds.
All ten S&P industry sectors closed with losses Friday, led by a drop of 1.2% in Materials shares. Shares in energy and financial companies fell 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively. However, Consumer Staples shares had a relatively moderate loss, dropping only 0.6%.
However, markets in Asia were somewhat in upbeat mood at the beginning of a new week today. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225-stock average moved up 0.9% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 1.3%.
With the start of the Cyber Monday shopping today, some preliminary numbers suggest heightened online purchasing activity. Meanwhile, ShopperTrak noted that retail sales rose a very modest 0.3% on Black Friday while foot traffic rose 2.2%. However, ShopperTrak was also of the view that early discounting could have pulled some of the Black Friday sales into early November.
A number of earnings reports are also due today, with retailers Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) and Kroger (NYSE:KR) set to report toward the middle of the week.