Oct. 4, 2011 at 12:33 PM ET
Stocks were mixed in afternoon trading Tuesday, with the Dow lagging but broader indexes slightly higher.
Stocks dropped immediately at open today. As has been the case for weeks now, concerns over the EU’s financial stability weighed heavily on financial markets, which are now trading near bear territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average had been off some 200 points earlier, but lately was down about 80 points or 0.75 percent. The broader S&P 500 was up 0.15 percent, and the Nasdaq was up 1.40 percent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the economy was ‘close to faltering’ and the prospects for job growth were poor.
He also took a shot at lawmakers for their protracted debate over raising the debt ceiling this summer, saying it had caused a downgrade of the U.S.’ credit rating and hurt markets.
“It’s no way to run a railroad, if I may say so,” he said.
One market observer told the Wall Street Journal:
"Bernanke's message has been consistent," said Steve Sosnick, an equity risk manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group. "Considering the psychology of the market, people are afraid he will say something negative and spook the market, but he hasn't really done that. But I get the sense the mood can change on a dime in this environment because of the extremes we're seeing in volatility and valuation."
European finance ministers are looking at making banks take bigger losses on Greek debt, and they have delayed a vital aid payment to Athens until mid-November, setting up a crunch point in the region's sovereign debt crisis, according to the news wire.
Also across the Atlantic, France and Belgium were fighting to prevent struggling bank Dexia from going under as investors grew increasingly worried over its ability to survive a renewed credit crunch.
And if that wasn’t enough bad news, Goldman Sachs has cut its outlook for gross domestic product for advanced economies for 2012, seeing growth of 1.3 percent instead of its previous expectation of 2.1 percent.
CNBC discussed the outlook earlier this morning, asking if the economy is nearing a double-dip recession.