The Dow is headed to its 3rd weekly loss in a row as US unemployment hits 9.5%. Oil pulls back.

By Charley Blaine Jul 2, 2009 2:16PM

Charley BlaineUpdated 3:40 p.m. ET.

 

This may not be the way anyone wanted to start the Fourth of July weekend.

 

The Labor Department offered a worse-than-expected jobs picture. A rising dollar slammed commodity prices. And stocks tumbled.

 

At 3:40 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were down 178 points, or 2%, to 8,326. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was off 43 points, or 2.3%, to 1,803, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) dropped 21 points, or 2.3%, to 902.

 

The S&P 500's loss was big enough that it has been flirting with going negative on the year.  The Dow and the S&P 500 appeared headed toward their third weekly loss in a row.

 

The Nasdaq was headed toward its second decline in the last three weeks.

 

The markets will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

 

Lousy economies in the US and Europe depress consumption, and reports suggest OPEC members are cheating.

By Charley Blaine Jul 2, 2009 1:35PM

Charley BlaineUpdated: 5:45 p.m. ET.

 

It's been a year since crude oil hit a closing high of $145.29 a barrel and almost a year since crude hit an intraday high of $147.27.

 

Sure, oil is higher this year. But it's beginning to look like a peak in prices has been achieved at roughly 50% below that 2008 high.

 

Crude oil was trading below $67 a barrel on today's dismal jobs report and may go lower.

 

A computer glitch grounds flights, and the stock falls.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 10:54AM

Travel for less  © CorbisAs Americans prepare for the July 4 holiday weekend, many travelers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are anything but celebratory today.

 

A computer glitch at UAL's (UAUA) United Airlines has caused cancellations and delays, stranding hundreds of travelers.

 

More cuts could be coming.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 10:22AM

The S&P 500 gained 15% in the second quarter, its largest quarterly gain since 1998, but it was a different picture for companies and their dividends.

 

Only 233 S&P 500 companies raised their dividends in the second quarter, breaking the old record of 265 in 1958, according to Standard & Poor's 500 senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt. And 250 companies cut dividends in the most recent quarter, the second-highest number of decreases ever, with the record 272 set in 1958.

 

Financial companies will give out hefty pay packages to retain employees.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 10:12AM

cash stack © Steve Cole/Photodisc Green/Getty ImagesHas there really been a recession these past 18 months? The way some big financial companies are planning to dole out pay packages this year, you would never know.

 

Goldman Sachs (GS) is preparing to pay out up to $20 billion this year, or about $700,000 per employee, The Wall Street Journal reported this morning. The number is based on analysts' earnings forecasts for this year. 

 

Believe it or not, this year's compensation packages would be higher than the $661,000 average payout Goldman made in the good old days of 2007, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) hit an all-time high and there was no recession plaguing the economy. It would also be nearly double the firm's $363,000 average last year, according to the report.

 

McDonald's adds higher-quality beef to its menu.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 9:18AM

McDonaldMcDonald's (MCD) is now catering to true beef lovers. Patrons of the fast food chain now have a big burger option beyond the Quarter Pounder and Big Mac.

 

The fast food chain will start selling Angus burgers today, at about $4 each. The burgers are made with one-third of a pound of Angus beef and will be sold in all of the company's U.S. locations for the next several months.

 

The unemployment rate ticks up to 9.5%, and job losses far exceed expectations. Average hourly earnings are flat. Oil pulls back.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 8:18AM

Elizabeth StrottUpdated at 1:15 p.m. ET

 

So much for an improving jobs picture. The Labor Department this morning said the economy lost 467,000 jobs last month, a far greater decline than the 325,000 economists had expected.

 

"It is definitely the big elephant in the room," Phil Flynn, vice president at PFG BEST Research, said to MarketWatch about the jobs data. "It's confirming what we saw earlier in the week with the dropping consumer confidence. (It's) another sign that the optimism of an economic recovery was a bit ahead of itself."

 

Stocks were sinking on the news. At 1:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was down 171 points, or 2%, to 8,333. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had shed 43 points, or 2.3%, to 1,803, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was lower by 21 points, or 2.3%, at 902. The markets will be closed Friday for the July Fourth holiday.

 

The New York Stock Exchange apologizes for mistake.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 2, 2009 8:06AM

All American International Group (AIG) needs is another struggle. This time, however, the New York Stock Exchange is to blame.

 

The NYSE late Wednesday said it erroneously posted a notice of suspension and delisting for AIG on its Web site, but AIG didn't meet the standards for delisting. The exchange typically issues delisting or suspension notices when a company's stock falls below $1 a share or its market capitalization drops below $25 million. The NYSE eased those rules amid the recession as some companies that were once in good economic condition saw their share prices plunge. 

 

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