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Dow in sixth day of losing streak

U.S. markets continued their slide Wednesday. Specialists Patrick

U.S. markets continued their slide Wednesday. Specialists Patrick King, left, and Christopher Carella work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. (May 8, 2012) Credit: AP

Fear of European debt is once again playing havoc with Wall Street.

Stocks pitched down Wednesday in the United States as borrowing rates climbed for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are losing confidence in those countries' finances.

Spain's 10-year borrowing rate leapt to 6.06 percent from 5.70 percent early Tuesday. Many fear that Spain, strangled by high unemployment and a real estate collapse, could be the next nation to require financial rescue.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 184 points before recovering about half of the loss. Still, the average has fallen for six consecutive days, its longest losing streak since last summer.

The Dow soared 2,624 points, or 25 percent, from Oct. 3 through May 1 as European leaders appeared to get a handle on the debt crisis. Last fall, nations that use the euro agreed to enforce budget discipline across the region.

In the six losing days that ended Wednesday, the Dow gave back 444 points -- one-sixth of the points it gained during its eight-month rally. The Dow closed down 97.03 points to 12,835.06.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.67 percent to 1,354.58. The Nasdaq dropped 0.39 percent to 2,934.71.

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