Concern over Greece, Spain extends Dow’s losing streak

U.S. stocks declined Wednesday, leaving the Dow in the red for a sixth session, as investors fretted about political uncertainty in Greece and the funding of Spanish banks.

“These concerns will most likely be resolved in the form of increased funding, or the loosening of available credit, but you are seeing a near-term impact on the government bonds of other countries like Italy and Spain,” said Bob Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners.

“People are fearful of the unknown, and nobody fully understands what could develop,” he added.

After a 183-point slide, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 12,835.06, off 97.03 points, or 0.8 percent. The losing streak is the longest for the blue chips since an eight-day stretch that ended Aug. 2, 2011. The Dow has shaved 444.26 points, or 3.3 percent, during its most recent down run.

The S&P 500 index shed 9.14 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,354.58, with industrials falling hardest among its 10 sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 11.56 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,934.71. 

Casino industry recovering from recession, report says

The nation’s commercial casinos continued their slow-but-steady comeback from the recession last year, with revenues up 3 percent nationwide and jobs holding nearly steady, according to a report released Wednesday.

The American Gaming Association’s annual report noted the nation’s 492 non-Indian casinos or other legal gambling halls paid nearly $8 billion in taxes to state and local governments, a 4.5 percent increase over 2010.

The casinos took in $35.6 billion last year.

They also provided more than 339,000 jobs, a dip of less than half of 1 percent from a year earlier. And casino workers saw their pay decline by 3 percent last year, to $12.9 billion in wages, benefits and tips.

“While it may be slow, the recovery of the national commercial casino industry is well under way,” said Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the AGA’s president. “The state of the industry is good; the prospects for its future are solid.” 

Chinese smartphone maker plans push into U.S. market

Will Americans buy a Chinese smartphone? Huawei, one of the world’s biggest phone makers, is planning a big push into U.S. cellphone stores.

All four nationwide U.S. phone companies will carry Huawei smartphones this year, says Francis Hopkins, a Huawei spokesman. That’s up from one right now — AT&T.

Only two Chinese companies are well-known consumer brands in the U.S.: computer maker Lenovo, which entered the U.S. market by buying IBM’s PC division; and Haier, an appliance maker with a German name.

Huawei, by contrast, is pushing into the U.S. market under its own power, and with a Chinese-sounding name (pronounced “wa-way”). It’s hoping to replicate the success of gadget makers like Samsung and LG of Korea and Acer and HTC, which have formed a second wave of Asian companies to enter the U.S., after the Japanese.

Huawei sells network equipment and accessories like wireless modems for laptops. It had $1 billion in sales in the U.S. last year.

— From news service reports