THE EUROPE TINDERBOX: Wednesday brought fresh reminders that the European debt crisis is far from solved. Spain reported that the proportion of bad loans at its banks rose to an 18-year high. The International Monetary Fund said European banks may need to cut back on lending to preserve capital.

EARNINGS ROLL IN: Of the 50 companies on the S&P 500 to report earnings so far, nearly four-fifths have beaten analysts' expectations for per-share earnings, according to FactSet. Still, the stocks of many of those companies fell anyway as investors focused on other concerns.

U-TURN FOR THE DOW: The Dow dropped 82.79 points after climbing the first two days of the week. It was a sharp reversal from Tuesday, when it notched a gain of 194 points, its second-best day of the year.