Greek jitters keep stocks, euro down

2011-11-04 17:52

New York - Global stocks and the euro fell on Friday as doubts resurfaced about Europe's bailout package and jitters ahead of a key vote in Greece overshadowed signs of improvement in a US jobs report.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a vote of confidence, with the fate of both the nation's deal on a eurozone bailout and the global economy in the balance.

In a sign of risk aversion, government debt rose on both sides of the Atlantic after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said few countries in the Group of 20 leading economies had committed to the fund.

Merkel's comment eclipsed relief among investors on Thursday that Greece had ditched controversial plans to hold a referendum on its bailout, which had calmed fears of an imminent sovereign debt default.

Trading has been volatile on quickly changing news from Europe. The US S&P 500 has swung more than 1.5% daily this week. The benchmark index is poised to post its first down week in five after October was its best month in 20 years.

"We are still waiting for the results of the confidence vote in Greece this evening and a definitive answer to whether (George) Papandreou will remain in office," said Kathy Lien, director of research at GFT in Jersey City, New Jersey.

World stocks measured by the MSCI all-country world index earlier slid 0.8%.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares slid 0.8%, erasing early gains. The index is on track to post its first weekly loss in six weeks.

In New York morning trade, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 156.62 points, or 1.30%, at 11,887.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 18.12 points, or 1.44%, at 1,243.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 33.03 points, or 1.22%, at 2,664.94.

The euro slid against the dollar as uncertainty persisted about Europe's bailout program. The euro fell 0.6% to $1.3722.

The December Bund future was up 107 ticks on the day and the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.05%.

Crude oil prices pared early gains and turned down.

Brent futures were down 27 cents at $110.56 a barrel. U.S. light crude futures were down $1.01 at $93.06 a barrel.

Spot gold prices fell $12.16 to $1 750.40 an ounce.