U.S. stocks sank the most in a month, oil slid and gold rose to a record after Standard & Poor’s cut the American credit outlook to negative and concern about Europe’s debt crisis worsened. Greek two-year bond yields surged to 20 percent for the first time since at least 1998.
The S&P 500 tumbled 1.6 percent to 1,298.09 at 1:13 p.m. in New York and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.7 percent. Ten- year Treasury yields lost three basis points to 3.38 percent as concern about Europe’s finances overshadowed S&P’s move. The euro lost 1.4 percent to $1.4227, while Portuguese debt- insurance costs rose to a record. The S&P GSCI index of 24 commodities slid 1.3 percent as oil and cocoa tumbled.
S&P assigned a one-in-three chance it will lower the U.S. rating in the next two years, saying the credit crisis and recession that began in 2008 worsened a deterioration in public finances. Budget differences among Democrats and Republicans remain wide and it may take until after the 2012 elections to get a proposal that addresses the concern, S&P said.
“This is another indication of the need for the U.S. to better control its fiscal destiny, both for its sake and that of the global economy,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer at Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s biggest manager of bond funds. “Absent credible medium-term fiscal reform, every segment of U.S. society would be faced with higher borrowing costs, a weaker dollar and a less bright outlook for employment, investment and growth.”
Commodity, industrial and technology companies had the biggest Read more…