Stocks continued to fall on Thursday as investor fears over the fiscal cliff, Europe, and possibly some trepidation over another Obama term continue to hit Wall Street. A large-scale sell-off in Apple (AAPL), the largest company on Earth, has not helped matters. On Thursday, AAPL hit a 6-month low, falling a little over 2 percent. Over the last month alone, Apple shares have plunged more than 17 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed a little more than 28 points to close at 12,542. The widely watched blue-chip index traded in a range between 12,496 and 12,600.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) shed 0.17 percent to close at $135.70. Volume has been picking up in recent days as the sell-off appears to be getting the attention of large investors. Around 174 million SPY shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 125 million.
The PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ), which tracks the performance of the Nasdaq 100, fell 0.34 percent to $62.03. With AAPL being such a large component of the QQQ, this heavily traded ETF has plunged almost 8 percent in the last month alone.
Crude oil followed stocks lower on the day. NYMEX crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, lost 0.90 percent to $85.54 while Brent crude contracts lost 0.63 percent to $107.80 at the close of equity trading. The United States Oil Fund ETF (USO) fell 0.88 percent to close at $31.49.
Precious metals also pulled back. COMEX gold futures were last down 0.89 percent to $1,714.70 while silver futures had lost 0.88 percent to $32.59. The heavily traded SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) fell 0.63 percent to $166.08 with heavy selling at the open.
Treasuries were actually lower on the day despite lukewarm risk appetite across the markets. The iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) lost 0.18 percent to $126.50. The yield on the 10-Year Note was flat at 1.59 percent.
The U.S. dollar was down marginally on the session. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, lost 0.05 percent to $22.19. The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading at $1.2774.
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