(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a sharply lower note as a political turmoil in Greece heightened worries that the debt-plagued nation may leave the euro zone.
S&P 500 Index shed 1.11 percent to finish at 1,338.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.98 percent to end at 12,695.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1.06 percent to close at 2,902.58.
In Greece, talks between political parties to form a coalition government failed, meaning the country may be forced to hold new elections.
Meanwhile, China's central bank cut the reserve requirement for banks by 50 basis points over the weekend in a move to boost economic growth. The move suggested that the world's second-largest economy may be experiencing significant headwinds.
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Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) jumped 13.34 percent in extended trading after e-commerce marketplace posted profit on a non-GAAP basis for the first quarter. The company earned 2 cents on revenue of $559.2 million, topping market expectations of earnings of 1 cent a share on revenue of $530.6 million.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) dropped 3.17 percent. According to Reuters, three top executives involved with a failed hedging strategy that cost JPMorgan at least $2 billion are expected to leave the bank this week. The company said Friday that it suffered a hefty $2 billion trading loss in its synthetic credit portfolio.
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Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) added 2.04 percent after the embattled Internet company's board named Ross Levinsohn as interim CEO, effective immediately, replacing former CEO Scott Thompson, who resigned over the resume padding scandal.
Avon Products Inc. (NYSE:AVP) gained 3.81 percent after the maker of beauty products said it would consider Coty's revised $10.7 billion takeover offer.
Concho Resources Inc. (NYSE:CXO) rose 3.20 percent after the company agreed to buy all the oil and natural gas assets of Three Rivers Operating Co. for $1.0 billion in cash.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK) gained 4.79 percent. The company secured $3.0 billion unsecured loan from Goldman Sachs Bank USA and affiliates of Jefferies Group Inc. to enhance its financial flexibility. The Wall Street Journal reported that the struggling natural-gas company expects activist investor Carl Icahn to announce soon that he has taken a significant stake in the company.
Ancestry.com Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOM) slumped 13.72 percent after the company's television series show Who Do You Think You Are? was not renewed by NBC.
The European markets retreated sharply, with Germany's DAX tumbling 1.94 percent to finish at 6,451.97. France's CAC40 lost 2.29 percent to close at 3,057.99. U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 1.97 percent to end at 5,465.52.
Asian markets ended mixed amid political uncertainty in Europe. The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.55 percent to end at 2,381.78. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.15 percent to close at 19,735.04. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.23 percent to close at 8,973.84. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,215.84, down 0.47 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures lost 2.02 percent to $94.19 per barrel, while natural gas futures slumped 3.43 percent to $2.423 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures declined 1.54 percent to $1,559.6 per ounce, and silver fell 2.35 percent to $28.21 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.63 percent against the U.S. dollar to $1.2835. The British pound added 0.16 percent against the greenback to 1.6096, and the dollar edged 0.09 percent lower against the Japanese yen to 79.8700.