(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended sharply lower weighed by persisting worries over the debt crisis in eurozone, where Spain formally requested help to recapitalize its struggling banks.
S&P 500 Index shed 1.60 percent to finish at 1,313.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.09 percent to end at 12,502.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.95 percent to close at 2,836.16.
Europe remained in the headlines as the region's leaders are due to meet later this week to address the debt woes, but concerns remain as to whether the two-day summit will be able to stem the crisis. Earlier today, the Spanish government formally requested aid from the European Union for up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) to shore up its banking sector.
On the US economic front, a data from the Commerce Department showed that sales of new single-family homes for the month of May rose stronger than forecast, the highest rate in over two years. New home sales gained 7.6 percent to 369,000, coming in above expectations of 350,000.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: BMY, CHK, RIMM, STZ, QSFT, MSFT, SHPGY
In corporate news, Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) dropped 3.48 percent and 1.12 percent respectively after the U.S. health regulators sought additional information on their blood thinner Eliquis.
Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) jumped 12.85 percent after media reported that the beverage maker may benefit from a potential transaction between Grupo Modelo SAB and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (NYSE: BUD).
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) fell 8.49 percent to $17.06. Reuters reported that the company plotted with a Canadian rival to suppress land prices in one of America's most promising oil and gas areas.
Quest Software Inc. (NASDAQ: QSFT) added 5.63 percent after the software maker, which agreed to be acquired by investment firm Insight Venture Partners for $23 per share, said it has received a higher offer of $27.50 a share from an unnamed buyer.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM) slumped 7.61 percent. The Sunday Times reported that the Blackberry maker is considering separating its ailing handset manufacturing division from its messaging network. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) could be potential buyers, the paper reported.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) is acquiring Yammer, a provider of enterprise social networks for businesses, for $1.2 billion in cash. Shares were off 2.72 percent.
Shire Plc (NASDAQ: SHPGY) tumbled 9.53 percent after the U.S. regulators have approved a generic version of one of its drugs treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the application from Watson Pharmaceuticals' (NYSE: WPI) Actavis unit to market generic version of Shire's Adderall XR. WPI stock added 0.86 percent.
European markets ended in red, with Germany's DAX down 2.09 percent to close at 6,132.39. France's CAC40 fell 2.24 percent to finish at 3,021.64. U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 1.14 percent to end at 5,450.65.
Asian markets fell tracking global cues, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 1.63 percent to trade at 2,224.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.51 percent to close at 18,897.45. Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.72 percent to end at 8,734.62. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,882.51, down 0.53 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures dipped 0.44 percent to $79.410 per barrel while natural gas futures added 2.13 percent to $2.681 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures gained 1.12 percent to $1,584.50 per ounce and silver futures advanced 3.18 percent to $27.575 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.53 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2503. The British pound dipped 0.10 percent against the greenback to 1.5572, while the dollar lost 0.98 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.6400.