Markets closed down today:
▼ Dow: -0.25 percent
▼ Nasdaq: -0.75 percent
▼ S&P: -0.50 percent
▼ Gold: up -0.26 percent to $1,571.10 an ounce
▲ Silver: up +0.38 percent to settle at $26.57
▼ Oil: -0.40 percent
Markets were down because:
U.S. stocks slid for a sixth day Thursday as concern spread that weaker global economic growth and the European debt crisis will hurt U.S. corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index had their longest losing streaks since mid-May.
Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett set a gloomy tone before the market opened, telling CNBC that weak demand is hurting his retail, jewelry, carpet and other businesses. He said business in Europe has dropped off quickly in the past two months.
Traders sweated about Europe's debt crisis and new Chinese economic data due out Friday.
The Dow fell as much as 112 points in early trading. It recovered to turn briefly positive in the afternoon before closing with a loss of 31.26 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,573.27. Dow component 3M fell $1.44, or 2 percent, to $86.41. Demand for the manufacturing conglomerate's products would weaken if the global economy faltered.
The S&P 500 fell 6.69 points, or 0.5 percent, at 1,334.76. The Nasdaq composite index fell 21.79, or 0.8 percent, to 2,866.19.
In Europe, Spain's borrowing costs crept higher, a sign that investors fear the country might default. Spain's neighbors are rescuing the country's banks, but the government itself was not bailed out and bond investors are not satisfied. Spain's main stock index closed down 2.6 percent.
Greece continues to struggle. Its government said unemployment there continues to rise and hit 22.5 percent in April.
The euro fell to a two-year low as fed-up investors questioned the region's ability to solve its debt crisis conclusively. It fell as low as $1.2165 and is down about five cents already this month.
A stronger dollar is another threat to U.S. corporate earnings, Fox said, because it makes U.S. goods more expensive to overseas buyers. Later, when companies convert those sales back into dollars, the unfavorable exchange rate shrinks the value of revenue earned overseas.
Traders also are concerned that China's economy is growing more slowly and might deprive the world of a crucial economic engine. New numbers due out on Friday are expected to show that growth in the second quarter fell to 7.3 percent from the previous quarter's 8.1 percent, which is already a three-year low. Revenue from the construction, shipbuilding and export manufacturing industries might have been cut in half since last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.