The euro held in a 1.3175 to 1.3319 (the high was at the open) range early in the session. Initially the currency edged lower but then made a short-lived rally over 1.3300 on early Italian polls showing the center-left's Pier Luigi Bersani with a firm lead for voting in both houses of the Italian legislature.
Later polls put Silvio Berlusconi, who campaigned against the budget austerity of Mario Monti the former appointed Prime Minister, in the lead for control of the Senate, which would likely stalemate the Rome government and could lead to a second election in the summer. The euro slipped sharply, testing lows near 1.3210 in late morning action. Ongoing Italian election headlines weighed as the afternoon wore on, with stops tripped off below 1.3145 and then 1.3120-25. The euro struggled to get back over 1.3100 and managed a brief foray to 1.3120 before again falling to 1.3079 mid-afternoon.
Order boards after the initial stop executions down to 1.3077 were wiped clean and could not provide much support as the euro fell back. There was another leg lower to 1.3048 before stocks closed.
The Dow lost 216.16 points 1.55%, to 13.784.20; the Nasdaq fell 27.75 points, 1.83% to 1,487.85 and the S&P 500 shed 45.57 points, 1.44% to 3,116.25.
There is not much in the way of support now other than the early January lows near 1.3035 and then the 2013 lows of 1.2997, seen January 4. Euro holding at 1.3072-75 at 4:45 pm ET.
MNI & WWM
Chart: WWM Flash Trader