US stocks fall ahead of European ratings downgrades
US stocks dropped Friday as word leaked that ratings agency Standard & Poor's was set to downgrade the long-term credit rating of many European nations, dpa reported.
After markets closed in New York, Standard & Poor's downgraded the long-term credit ratings of nine European countries, saying actions taken by the eurozone to contain its debt crisis were likely insufficient. But worries that the move was imminent had already weighed on European exchanges earlier in the day and US markets followed their counterparts lower.
The broad review of the eurozone saw France and Austria lose their top AAA credit, but Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg hung on to their top AAA ratings.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 48.96 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 12,422.06. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 6.41 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 1,280.09. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.03 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 2,710.67.
US markets closed up for the week, with the Dow adding 0.5 per cent, the S&P gaining 0.88 and the Nasdaq increasing 1.36 per cent.
The US currency gained against the euro to 78.86 euro cents from 78.04 euro cents on Thursday. The dollar slid against the Japanese currency to 76.97 yen from 76.80 yen.