Apple shares tumble as stocks fall for second day in last three

The stock market endured its second broad decline in three days, as investors fretted about weak earnings in the U.S. and deepening economic stagnation in Europe.

Companies ranging from Apple Inc. to Bank of America Corp. were battered as investors fled shares of economically sensitive issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 138.19 points, or 0.9%, to 14,618.59. The Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 22.56 points, or 1.4%, to 1,552.01.

The pain was worst in the technology-laden Nasdaq composite, which shriveled 59.96 points, 1.8%, to 3,204.67.

After a powerful rally through much of the year, investors have been spooked by unimpressive economic data in the last week, including disappointing numbers on U.S. unemployment and retail sales.

Markets across Europe were lower, unnerved by comments from a top German official that the continent’s debt crisis may linger for as long as a decade.

Apple sank after a profit warning from a component supplier raised fear of future weakness at the technology behemoth itself. Apple stumbled to its lowest close since late 2011, falling $23.44, or 5.5%, to $402.80.

The stock struggled to stay above $400 all day, briefly dipping as low as $398.11. The shares have been on a breathtaking slide ever since piercing $700 in September.

Bank of America fell after its first-quarter profit fell short of analyst expectations.

The market decline isn’t surprising given the sharp advance in stocks early in the year. Even after this week’s drop, the Dow is still up 11.6% this year.

But the Dow’s triple-digit moves in each of the last three days indicates that volatility, which has been muted for much of the last year, may be on the rise.


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