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Stocks close down, continue multi-day slump

UPDATED at 4:15 p.m.:

Stocks finished down across the board today and now have closed down three of the past four days as continuing worry about Europe depresses Wall Street.

The Dow closed down 1.1 percent at 10,510.95.

The broader S&P 500 closed down 1.4 percent at 1,120.78.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down 1.6 percent at 2,317.26.

The Dow is down 4.5 percent since the beginning of May but is up eight-tenths of 1 percent since the beginning of the year. Only one of 30 Dow stocks closed up today -- Wal-Mart, based on the strength of first-quarter earnings, released today.

The euro hit a new four-year low against the dollar, now trading at $1.2. Germany unilaterally banned naked short-selling of government bonds and stocks, which takes effect at midnight, Frankfort time, a move that is meant to add stability to the European markets but is viewed by Wall Street as just one more new thing to deal with in valuing stocks.

Even though Europe is wreaking havoc on U.S. markets, European markets themselves had a terrific day. London's FTSE closed up nearly 1 percent, Germany's DAX closed up 1.5 percent and France's CAC 40 closed up 2.1 percent.

Oil, which rose in morning trading settled back down below $70 per barrel, at $69.41.

Stocks continue downward slide

2:40 p.m.: After turning negative at mid-day, stocks have done nothing but go down and appear headed toward a bad close, as traders continue to worry about Europe.

With a little less than 90 minutes to go on the trading day, the Dow is down 1.1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is down 1.5 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 1.8 percent.

Stocks turn negative at mid-day

12:10 p.m.: After a gangbusters open, stocks have now turned fully negative in mid-day trading, dragged down by tech and retail stocks.

Shortly after noon, the Dow is down one-tenth of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is down four-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down eight-tenths of 1 percent.

The markets may be responded to pending news out of the SEC that the agency will announce its new circuit-breaker rules, which are an attempt to prevent another flash crash of the sort we had two weeks ago.

Stocks pare gains

11:12 a.m.: Stocks have pared their gains 90 minutes into the trading day and the Nasdaq has turned negative.

Shortly after 11 a.m., the Dow is declining from its highs of the day but is still up three-tenths of 1 percent.

Same story with the broader S&P 500, which dipped into negative territory before returning to the black. It's just above water.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has dipped well into negative territory, and is down three-tenths of 1 percent.

Stocks open with strong rally

10 a.m.: Stocks kicked off trading with an energetic rally this morning, following yesterday's roller-coaster day.

In the first 30 minutes of trading, the Dow is up seven-tenths of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is up nearly nine-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up seven-tenths of 1 percent.

Stocks opened slightly up on Monday, then the Dow dove more than 180 points before markets rallied to finished slightly up on the day -- essentially flat, after a scary plunge.

Stocks today are cheered by data this morning showing inflation is still not a factor and housing starts increased in April.

Also, it's worth noting that crude is up $4 per barrel this morning, after dropping 20 percent of its value in the past month.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  May 18, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Data , Wall Street  | Tags: Business, Investing, NASDAQ, S&P 500, dija, dow jones, stocks, stocks today  
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Next: April consumer inflation essentially flat

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