Greek Woes Pressure Stocks in Choppy Session

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After spending the day shifting between gains and losses, Wall Street finally ended in the red as traders failed to overcome jitters over the potential impact of the stalemate in forming a Greek government.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.4 points, or 0.5%, to 12632, the S&P 500 slipped 7.7 points, or 0.57%, to 1331 and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 8.8 points, or 0.3%, to 2894.

The worst performing stocks by a wide margin were in the economically-sensitive materials and energy sectors. Consumer staples, seen as safety play, performed the best out of the S&P 500 sectors.

Europe has been a major focus in recent sessions as market participants have worried that political upheaval in Greece may reverberate through the eurozone currency bloc. Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said talks to forge a coalition government once again failed on Tuesday and that the country will hold another set of elections. That calls into question Greece's membership in the eurozone. Without the help of international lenders, it also won't be able to service its debt, making a default all the more likely.

That news counteracted data showing Germany's gross domestic product grew at an annualized pace of 0.5% in the first quarter. Economists were expecting a slower 0.1% growth rate for Europe's biggest economy.

Traders also had a slew of data on the U.S. economy to parse through.

The New York Federal Reserve's regional manufacturing gauge surged to 17.09 in May from 6.56 in April, topping expectations of 8.5. Readings above zero point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction. The more closely-watched reading from the Philadelphia Fed is on tap for Thursday.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed prices at the consumer level were unchanged in the month of April, which was in line with estimates. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were up 0.2%, which also matched economists’ expectations. Both measures were up 2.3% from last year.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.1% in April from March, coming up short of the 0.2% increase expected. Excluding the auto segment, sales were also up 0.1%, shy of a 0.2% estimate. The consumption sector is considered to be one of the most important pieces of the U.S. economy, and analysts have been paying close attention to have customers have been faring with high gasoline prices and a stubbornly weak jobs market.

On the corporate front, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) reported a first-quarter EPS that matched Wall Street's expectations, but the world's biggest home improvement retailer's revenue fell short. Shares of the blue chip were down in early trade.

In commodities, oil traded in New York slipped 80 cents, or 0.84%, to $93.98 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.5% to $2.94 a gallon.

Gold declined slightly to $1,557 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets 

Eurozone blue chips sold off by 1.1%, the English FTSE 100 slipped 0.51% to 5438 and the German DAX dipped 0.79% to 6401.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.81% to 8901 and the Chinese Hang Seng gained 0.81% to 19894.