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 (NASDAQ: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.
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The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: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 (NASDAQ: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 (NYSE: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 (NYSE: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 (NYSE: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 (NYSE: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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