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MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Retreat From Five-year Highs

02/04/2013 | 11:03am US/Eastern
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By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks fell sharply Monday as Wall Street retreated from five-year highs, with uncertainty over Europe rattling investors and pushing Spanish bond yields higher.

"You can see the spillover from Europe today, and we're back to the same old story, with Italian and Spanish yields in particular, spooking European markets," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) lost 110.26 points, or 0.8%, to 13,899.53.

The S&P 500 index (SPX) declined 10.68 points, or 0.7%, to 1,502.49, with telecommunications falling hardest among its 10 major sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite shed 17.93 points, or 0.6%, to 3,161.26.

Herbalife Ltd. (>> Herbalife Ltd.) shares declined 5.7% after the New York Post reported the Federal Trade Commission was investigating the supplement distributor. Last month, hedge-fund manager William Ackman said he was betting against, or shorting, its stock, calling Herbalife a pyramid scheme.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (>> Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) fell 1.8% after J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. downgraded the discount retailer to neutral from overweight.

Oracle Corp. (>> Oracle Corporation) fell 1.6% after the business-software maker said it would buy Acme Packet Inc. (>> Acme Packet, Inc.) for $1.7 billion. Acme Packet shares leapt 22%.

For every share that rose, roughly three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 170 million shares traded as of 10:50 a.m. Eastern.

In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing a corruption scandal and calls for his resignation from the opposition Socialist Party. Yields on Spain's 10-year government notes surged to above 5%.

And reforms implemented in Italy are viewed as at risk by the increasing popularity of Silvio Berlusconi, with the former prime minister a contender in general elections slated for later in the month.

Stocks maintained their losses after the Commerce Department reported factory orders rose a less-than-forecast 1.8% in December.

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