Stocks dive on report that Saudis fired on protesters

On what was already a grim day in the stock market, share prices took a fresh dive in the last 40 minutes on a report that Saudi Arabian police fired on protesters at a rally in the country’s eastern region.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 212 points, or 1.7%, to 12,001 at about 11 a.m. PST amid a broad market decline.

“It’s a ‘sell first, ask questions later’ mentality,” said Ryan Larson, head of equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

[UPDATED at 1:10 p.m.: The Dow ended down 228.48 points, or 1.9%, to 11,984.61, its first close below 12,000 since Jan. 31.]

Saudi dissidents have called for a “day of rage” on Friday to demand social reforms. The government has banned all protests.

World markets had been hit earlier Thursday by news of slowing Chinese export growth and by Moody’s Investors Service’s downgrade of Spain’s debt, the latter a reminder that Europe’s debt crisis was far from solved. Major European stock markets lost between 1% and 1.6% for the session.

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I wear many hats but history, economics and political observance have always been a passion. I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business with a degree in Information Systems and Digital Business with a minor in European History. I work for a small mom-and-pop IT consulting and software design company. We deal in servicing mostly government funded non-profit mental and behavioral health care agencies in the state of Ohio. In this I deal with Medicaid and Medicare funds and have a little insight on the boondoggles of government there. Thankfully the undemanding nature of my daily profession gives me ample time to read and stay aware of our current state of affairs which I find stranger than fiction in many instances. In addition to being in the IT field, I have also been self employed with a small contracting company so I might know a thing or two about the plight of small business that employs 71% of the American workforce. I however don't draw my knowledge from my day jobs, which I have had a few; I draw it from an intense obsession with facts and observation about the world in which I live. I do have formal education in things such as history, economics and finance particularly as it pertains to global issues, but I have come to find much of what I thought I knew from the formalities of a state university I had to unlearn through much time and independent research. I hope you enjoy what I bring you which is not often heard in the mainstream news outlets. I would like to think my own personal editorializing is not only edifying but thought provoking while not at all obnoxious. That last one may be a hard to achieve.

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