Stocks Extend Losses in Afternoon Action

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The markets fell further into the red in afternoon trading on Friday as ongoing worries about the eurozone debt crisis overshadowed better-than-expected consumer sentiment data.

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Today's Markets

As of 2:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 61.6 points, or 0.49%, to 12468, the S&P 500 dipped 1.7 points, or 0.13%, to 1319 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.93 point, or 0.03%, to 2839.

Market participants have been focused squarely on the unfolding debt situation in the eurozone for much of the week. The Spanish banking sector was of particular concern on the day. Bankia confirmed plans to ask for 19 billion euro in rescue funds, which would be the biggest bank bailout in Spain's history. Separately, Standard & Poor's slashed its credit rating Bankia and four other Spanish banks on the day.

Analysts said they would also be keeping a close eye on public opinion polls in Greece. Voters there will have to choose next month between parties that support austerity in exchange for critical bailout funds and ones that do not. The final tally is likely to seal Greece's future in the currency bloc, and could send shockwaves across global financial markets. So far, polls have shown a tight battle, with the radical-left Syriza party edging out the conservative New Democracy party, which supports the bailout.

On the U.S. front, a final reading on consumer sentiment from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan checked in at 79.3 -- the highest since October 2007. Economists expected the gauge to hold steady at a preliminary reading of 77.8.

Commodities were mixed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 22 cents, or 0.22%, to $90.86 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.57% to $2.89 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $11.40, or 0.73%, to $1,571 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.25% to 2162, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.03% to 5352 and the German DAX climbed 0.38% to 6340.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 224 tilted higher by 0.2% to 8580 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up by 0.25% to 18713.