Stocks Open Sharply Down on Korean Tension

Stocks across the globe opened dramatically lower today in response to North Korea's reported threat to take military action against South Korea, as well as deepening worries over the Bank of Spain's bailout of a major bank.

In particular, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell more than 2 percent, S&P 500 futures fell 2.5 percent, and the euro continued to lose value, reaching a four-year low, and sending it closer to parity with the U.S. dollar, a level it has not seen since June 2002.

Market watchers are expecting to see the Dow close below 10,000 for the first time since Feb. 8. The index closed yesterday at 10,066.57, down 126.82 points, the bulk of which—80 points—came during the final 15 minutes of trading. But the Associated Press reports that two reports due to be published today, showing increased consumer confidence and rising home prices in 20 major cities, could offset anxieties over the possibility of a Korean conflict.

That dispute appears to have no resolution in sight, with a United States delegation to China, led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, unable to extract support from the Chinese for a U.N. Security Council resolution rebuking North Korea for its alleged role in the deaths of 46 sailors aboard the South Korean Cheonan in late March.