US stocks end lower as Europe teeters; Dow off 77

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S stocks skidded Wednesday as a looming election in Greece and the broader debt maelstrom in Europe provided an ominous backdrop.

Major market indexes wavered for much of the day but fell sharply after the finance minister of Cyprus warned that his country may seek its own bailout this week, stoking the uneasy feeling that the crisis is far from over.

In a troubling sign, Spain’s 10-year borrowing rate inched up to 6.71 percent from 6.67 percent. Other countries in Europe have had to seek bailouts when their borrowing rates hit 7 percent.

European leaders said over the weekend that they will lend up to $125 billion to Spain’s banks, but that has not soothed markets. Investors want more details about the plan, including where the money would come from and how likely it is that Spain would pay it back.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 77.42 points to end at 12,496.38 after another day of volatile trading. The Dow had been down as much as 120 points and up as much as 24 points. That followed a triple-digit gain on Tuesday and a triple-digit loss on Monday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 9.30 points to 1,314.88, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 24.46 points to 2,818.61.

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