June 12 - Summary: Wall Street slumped in late trade, with blue chips racking up their first three-day slide of the year, as investors prepare for what some believe is the end of extra Fed stimulus. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Blue chips give up a triple-digit gain for a triple-digit loss as some investors grow more convinced that the Federal Reserve is close to scaling back extra stimulus. The Dow suffered its first three-day slump of 2013. This S&P 500 shed 0.8 percent, while the Nasdaq gave up a full percent. Traders say it is not that the market is trading on an abundance of bad news, just the absence of any market-friendly news to offset the pull lower. The five biggest losers at the Big Board: American Express, Home Depot, International Business Machines, Disney and Chevron, spread across various sectors. Fewer American homeowners were under water on their mortgages at the end of the first quarter compared to the previous three month period. Data from CoreLogic show 9.7 million properties were worth less than their mortgages, that's down from 10-1/2 million at the end of last year. That's another sign rising home prices are helping to further heal that sector. Separately, mortgage applications jumped for the first time in a month last week. Prospective home buyers and those looking to refinance are trying to get ahead of rising interest rates. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman says revenue growth is "still possible" for the tech company's next fiscal year BUT, and this is a strong but, what happens in the PC market is still unclear. Her comments on CNBC were enough to send the stock up by nearly 3 percent in a down market. Pfizer scored a legal win. The drug company will get $2.15 billion as part of a patent litigation settlement against Teva, the world's biggest generic drugs company. Shares of Pfizer gained slightly, while Teva ended down by almost 2 percent. European investors were in a selling mood as concerns about Greece resurfaced but volume was on the light side.