Treasuries gain most in three weeks, Dow registers biggest fall of 2012

US stocks suffered their steepest fall in three months on Tuesday as fears of a disorderly Greek default returned to haunt the market.

Treasuries advanced the most in more than three weeks as Europe’s economy slowed and doubts persisted over Athens’ ability to persuade creditors to agree to a debt-swap deal under the so-called public sector initiative. US ten-year yields dropped 0.06 percent, or 6 basis points, to 1.95 percent, as investors looked to minimize risk ahead of Thursday’s deadline for the Greek deal. Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds dropped six basis points to touch 3.09 percent.

The iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) added 1.41 points, or 1.21 percent, for the day, while the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) gained 0.14 points, or 0.16 percent over yesterday’s close.

All three of the major indexes registered their largest declines since December 8th 2011, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 204 points, or 1.5 percent to close at 12,759. Financial stocks were the hardest hit today with JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) both declining by about three percent. The S&P 500 lost 20.79 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 1343.36, registering its third straight day of losses. The tech-laden NASDAQ Composite sank 40.16 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,910.32. Ahead of Wednesday’s media event, Apple Inc, the NASDAQ’s largest component, dropped by 0.5 percent. On the NYSE, about ten stocks declined for every one issue advancing.

Prices of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) dropped after the company announced a tie-up with private equity firm KKR to invest in key domestic oil and gas assets. Monster Worldwide’s (MWW) shares rose after the online jobs search firm announced it had retained BofA and Stone Key Partners to review strategic alternatives. Shares of Nutrisystem Inc (NTRI) plunged 10 percent after the firm cautioned that earnings and revenue may fall short of street expectations. Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) announced $1.6 billion in quarterly revenues or earnings of 88 cents per share, matching forecasts.

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