Shares in the major indexes are broadly lower today on the back of a bevy of economic reports and a disappointing earnings release in the technology sector. With roughly an hour left in the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is lower by 70 points, or 0.48%.
The economic reports released today — which fellow Fool Dan Dzombak discusses at length — paint a generally positive picture of the domestic economy’s direction. Among other things, new claims for unemployment insurance came in lower than expected last week, existing-home sales climbed to a three-year high in February, and home prices for the month of January increased by 6.5% on a year-over-year basis.
Despite the generally upbeat news, however, all but six of the Dow’s 30 components are trading in the red. The explanation for this seems to be twofold. First, the ongoing crisis in Europe continues to roil the markets. Over the weekend, the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus was bailed out by the EU and IMF. But to unlock the support, Cyprus must come up with 5.8 billion euros in new revenue, something that it has failed to do thus far. It now has only four more days to find a solution.
Suffice it to say, a Cyprus-induced fracture in the EU would cause panic throughout the financial markets. It would wreak particular havoc on the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) , both of which have significant global trading operations that would expose them to potentially massive losses. For its part, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is down by 1.2% today, while Citigroup is 1.4% lower.