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European Debt Weighs on Markets Again

Remember that whole European debt crisis deal and the havoc it wreaked on financial markets last year? Well, it’s back. Actually, it never went anywhere.

News out of Europe has only impacted Wall Street in fits and starts of late. Or at least it hasn’t plagued the market the way it did during a topsy-turvy 2011. But little about the European debt fiasco has changed. Euro-zone countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy are still drowning in a sea of red.

And today U.S. markets are feeling the brunt of Europe’s woes.

There were a number of unflattering euro-zone headlines this morning, and they all seem to be weighing on U.S. markets. Those headlines are:

  • Spanish 10-year bond yields moved back above 6% for the first time since September 6. Yields had fallen below 6% early in the month after the European Central Bank unveiled plans to intervene in euro-zone bond markets. But Spain has yet to accept the ECB’s terms, creating more uncertainty about the fate of the euro-zone’s fourth-largest economy.
  • Anti-austerity protests in both Greece and Spain. This is nothing new. Riots have been reoccurring in Greece for the past couple years. Today they happened in Spain, too, after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy indicated that the country’s austerity measures might include cutting into early-retirement programs.
  • European stocks tanked. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.7% after all the bad news. Now U.S. markets are following suit.

As of noon eastern time, the Nasdaq had fallen 0.8% while the S&P 500 was down 0.4%. Those declines come on the heels of yesterday’s rare 1% pullback.

Now that the Federal Reserve has fired its QE3 bullet and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has released its iPhone 5, Europe has moved to the forefront of investors’ minds again.

As usual, they’re not liking what they’re seeing.