The situation in Europe has the markets worried today. At one point, the Dow Jones was down 353 points, while the Standard & Poor's shed 3 percent and the Nasdaq wasn't far behind with a 2.9 percent loss.
What set the market skidding? The Wall Street Journal pins the blame on three things: Worries of a Greek default, the resignation of a European Central Bank board member and worries about President Obama's just-announced jobs plan.
The paper reports:
The increasing possibility of a Greek default sent stocks to fresh session lows. Investors worry that a default is becoming a more likely scenario. The fear of how markets and the global economy would react to such a issues is one of the big issues weighing on investor sentiment.
"People are definitely spooked because you're never quite sure what the secondary effects are going to be," said Ben Halliburton, chief investment officer at Tradition Capital Management. "It's impossible to say until it actually happens."
One analyst Bloomberg spoke to concurs:
"There's that nagging thought that we can continue to have a downward spiral in Europe," James Dunigan, chief investment officer in Philadelphia for PNC Wealth Management, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees $109 billion. "There's concern of a default, of risk in banks, of a liquidity crisis. In the U.S., even as President Obama made an effort to put that plan together, there's not a whole lot of confidence that Congress will pass."
The euro also had a tough time today, dropping 3.8 percent against the dollar.
Update at 4:51 p.m. ET. Stocks Close Lower:
The Dow, Nasdaq and the S&P closed almost 3 percent down.