WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - After moving notably lower at the open, stocks have accelerated to the downside over the course of morning trading on Tuesday. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hitting two-month lows.
Much of the weakness on Wall Street stems from uncertainty about the political situation in Europe following recent elections in Greece and France.
With Greece's mainstream conservatives failing to form a coalition government, the Left Coalition party, which opposes the terms of the EU/IMF bailout, will now have an opportunity.
Traders also continue to express some concerns about the impact of Socialist Francois Hollande's election as the next president of France.
While most of the major sectors have moved to the downside, gold stocks are posting particularly steep losses on the day. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index has tumbled by 3.9 percent, with the weakness in the sector coming as the price of gold plunges by more than $35 an ounce.
Housing stocks have also moved sharply lower over the course of the morning, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.8 percent. PulteGroup (PHM) and Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances.
Oil service, biotechnology, semiconductor, and brokerage stocks are also seeing significant weakness amid broad based selling pressure.
The major averages have edged up off their lows for the session in the past few minutes but continue to post steep losses. The Dow is down 157.65 points or 1.2 percent at 12,850.88, the Nasdaq is down 47.53 points or 1.6 percent at 2,910.23 and the S&P 500 is down 17.75 points or 1.3 percent at 1,351.83.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX