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Market Recap: EU Crisis Roars Back to Life, Markets Shudder

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Markets closed mixed today:

▼ Dow: -0.75 percent

▼ Nasdaq: -0.39 percent

▼ S&P: -0.67 percent

Precious metals:

▼ Gold: down -0.98 percent to $1,590.50 an ounce

▼ Silver: down -0.95 percent to settle at $29.18 an ounce

Commodities:

▼ Oil: -0.95 percent

Markets were mixed because:

Fear of European debt is once again playing havoc with Wall Street.

Stocks pitched down Wednesday in the United States as borrowing rates climbed for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are losing confidence in those countries' finances.

Spain's 10-year borrowing rate leapt to 6.06 percent from 5.70 percent early Tuesday. Many fear that Spain, strangled by high unemployment and a real estate collapse, could be the next nation to require financial rescue.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 184 points before recovering about half of the loss. Still, the average has fallen for six consecutive days, its longest losing streak since last summer.

The Dow soared 2,624 points, or 25 percent, from Oct. 3 through May 1 as European leaders appeared to get a handle on the debt crisis. Last fall, nations that use the euro agreed to enforce budget discipline across the region.

Since May 1, when the Dow closed at a four-year high, worries about Europe have resurfaced. In elections on Sunday, Greek and French voters ousted leaders who had imposed tough spending cuts to soothe investors.

In the six losing days that ended Wednesday, the Dow gave back 444 points - one-sixth of the points it gained during its eight-month rally. The Dow closed down 97.03 points, or 0.8 percent, at 12,835.06.

Greece, without a government since Sunday's elections, appears increasingly likely to exit the euro currency union or be forced out. The resulting uncertainty could cause turmoil throughout global markets.

European stocks are having one of their worst weeks in months. London's FTSE 100 index is down 2.2 percent this week, its worst performance since December. Stocks in Athens are down 10.8 percent, the most since August.

Cash flowed into ultra-safe investments such as U.S. Treasurys, pushing the yield on the 10-year note as low as 1.80 percent, near a seven-month low. The yield finished the day at 1.84 percent as stocks moved off their earlier lows.

One reason that demand for Treasurys is increasing: As Europe deteriorates and hiring in the U.S. slows, traders believe that the Federal Reserve is more likely to engage in another round of bond-buying to juice the economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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