Economy Briefs

WALL STREET

Stocks sink, pushing S&P to edge of bear market

NEW YORK — The latest setback in Greece’s financial crisis sent the Standard and Poor’s 500 index to its lowest level of the year, putting it on the edge of a new bear market.

The index, the benchmark for most U.S. stock funds, has fallen 19.4 percent since its high for the year on April 29. A 20 percent drop would signify the start of a bear market, ending a bull market that began in March 2009. The S&P 500 has gained 76 percent since then, including dividends.

European markets slumped, dragging U.S. stocks down along with them, after Greece said it will miss deficit reduction targets it agreed to as part of its bailout deal. Benchmark indexes in Germany, France and Spain all fell 2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 258.08 points, or 2.4 percent, to 10,655.30. The S&P 500 lost 32.19, or 2.9 percent, to 1,099.23. That’s below its closing low of 1,119 for the year, reached on Aug. 8.

BANKS

Citi tweaks checking account rules, ups some fees

Citibank made sure to draw attention last week to its lack of fees for using debit cards after news broke that its biggest competitor would start charging them.

But at the same time, the bank was letting its customers know they’ll soon have to meet stricter requirements to avoid monthly checking account charges.

The main changes will be seen by customers with mid-tier checking accounts, which offer the potential for earning interest and a few other perks. Starting in December, Citi will charge $20 a month on these accounts, unless the customer has combined balances of $15,000 or more in checking, savings and investment accounts or loan balances.

The fee was previously waived for combined balances of $6,000 for that level of account, which offers perks such as interest-bearing checking.

Customers also pay $2 fees for using non-Citi ATMs if they don’t meet the balance requirement.

AUTOS

Sales up on big trucks

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