There are now 13 European nations struggling with double-digit unemployment, led by a 24.1% rate in Spain and 21.7% in Greece.
In a largely symbolic move, Standard & Poor's raised its ratings on Greece to "CCC," pulling the country out of selective default after it successfully exchanged its distressed debt.
Readings were a bit better in Asia, as a closely watched measure of manufacturing activity in China improved slightly. But the HSBC survey of manufacturing executives still came in at 49.3 for April. While that's up from 48.3 in March, it is just below the 50 mark that indicates either growth or contraction in that key sector.
Asian markets all ended higher. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.8%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei ticked up 0.3%.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar gained against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.
Oil for June delivery slipped 94 cents to end at $105.22 a barrel.
Gold futures for June delivery fell $8.40 to settle at $1,654 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, with the yield falling to 1.93% from 1.96% on Tuesday.
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