Stocks slump on worries about Europe and jobs
The Dow falls 156 points on worries about Europe and disappointment with jobless claims and manufacturing weakness in mid-Atlantic states. Facebook prices its IPO at $38. Wal-Mart results cheer investors. Apple slumps.
Stocks slumped in late-day trading as worries about the domestic economy and the European debt crisis offset decent earnings from Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and the interest in Facebook's initial public offering.
The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) finished at their lowest level since Jan. 13. It was the blue chips' fifth straight loss and the 11th in 12 sessions. The euro dropped below $1.27, and the 10-year Treasury yield hit a record low 1.702%.
Facebook, meanwhile, priced its IPO at $38 a share, raising $16 billion for early investors and the company. It's the largest Internet IPO ever. Trading is expected to start at 11 a.m. ET Friday.
The IPO couldn't overcome the worries about Europe and the domestic economy. There was a a disappointing report on initial jobless claims and a surprising decline in manufacturing reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The reports raised fears of a slowdown, although many economists believe the economy is stronger than a year ago.
The Dow closed down 156 points to 12,442. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was off 20 points to 1,305, also its fifth loss in a row and its lowest close since Jan. 17. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) dropped 60 points to 2,814.
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), heavily influenced by Apple (AAPL), was off 53 points to 2,509. Apple was down $15.96 to $530.12. The stock is off 16.7% from its April 9 closing high of $636.23 -- perhaps, Barron's suggested, because of all the hype about the Facebook IPO. It is also known that several big hedge funds have trimmed their positions in the stock.
Facebook worth billions
At $38, Facebook is worth as much as $104 billion. There had been talk about raising the price to $39. Under SEC rules, the price could rise as much as 20% above the high end of the range.
But, The Wall Street Journal reported, investors rebuffed the company and its investment bankers.
The Facebook pricing is an important step in taking a company public. The pricing means the company sells the shares to its underwriters, who then market them to various customers before trading starts on Friday.
Morgan Stanley is the lead underwriter.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$92.56||$92.81||-11.74%||-6.34%|
|Heating oil (-HO)||$2.8490||$2.8976||-10.53%||-2.24%|
|Natural gas (-NG)||$2.5940||$2.6180||13.52%||-13.22%|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|Unleaded gasoline (-RB)||$2.8782||$2.9209||-7.89%||8.31%|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
After the close, shares of Salesforce.com (CRM) and Applied Materials (AMAT) were both higher after quarterly results beat estimates. Both also boosted quarterly guidance. Shares of Autodesk (ADSK) were down as investors were disappointed the company did not boost its guidance.
Futures trading suggests the stock market may open up slightly. The fact is the market has become quite oversold, and a short-term rally at least is about to erupt.
Europe remains the big question
Adding to today's stress was continued weakness in European stocks as Greece's financial crisis weighed on investors. Truth be told, Europe was probably the biggest problem for the market.
The worries over Europe has pushed up demand for dollars; the euro has fallen against the dollar for 12 straight days. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, is also up for 12 straight days. The currency moves are a big reason why stocks are lower.
The euro was trading at $1.2708, down from Wednesday's $1.2721. The euro is trading at its lowest level against the dollar since Jan. 16. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.702% from Wednesday's 1.765%.
The euro is why crude oil (-CL) in New York is lower. Crude settled at $92.49 a barrel, down 32 cents. It's off 11.7% this month and 6.3% this year.
So, one should not be surprised that stocks across Europe were down at least 1%.
Moody's Investor Service cut its ratings on four Spanish regions, citing their poor fiscal performance in 2011 and likelihood they won't meet goals set by the Spanish government. Ratings on two regions -- Catalunya and Murcia -- were dropped below investment grade.
Meanwhile, Brent crude was down $4.93 to $107.49 a barrel. It's flat on the year but was up 17.5% on March 1, when it settled at $126.20.
The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline was down to $3.722 a gallon from Wednesday's $3.728, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
Gold (-GC), however, settled up $38.30 to $1,574.90 an ounce as safety remains a big concern for investors.
Jobless claims hold steady at 370,000; leading indicators slip
Jobless claims were unchanged at 370,000 in the latest week, the Labor Department said today. Economists had projected that claims would come in at 365,000. The data suggest nonfarm payrolls, to be reported on June 1, will rise by about 150,000.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its manufacturing index fell to minus-5.8 in May from 8.5 in April, quite a bit lower than expected. Of greatest concern was that the report's employment index fell more than expected. But some economists cautioned that the report, while widely watched, can be quite volatile.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.1% after a 0.3% gain in March. The Street was looking for a gain of 0.1%. The index is used to forecast where the economy may be headed over the next three months.
Wal-Mart earnings impress; Caterpillar's growth is a concern
Wal-Mart was the top performer among the 30 Dow stocks. Shares moved up $2.49 to $61.68. The company said net income for the fiscal first quarter rose 10% to $3.74 billion, or $1.09 a share, from $3.4 billion, or 97 cents, a year ago. The Street estimate was $1.04 a share. Revenue rose 8.5% to $113 billion, ahead of the consensus estimate of $110.5 billion.
Caterpillar (CAT) was the Dow laggard, down $4.06 to $87.80. The company reported that sales over the February-April period were up 12% from a year ago. The problem is that sales growth has been slowing. It had been as high as 27% in the November-January period. North American sales in the February-April period were up 34%, although that was lower than November-January's 47% gain.
Caterpillar reports dealer sales growth on a three-month rolling basis.
Caterpillar shares are off 24.4% since peaking this year on Feb. 23 at $116.20.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares were up 3 cents to $22.06 on reports that the company will cut its workforce by roughly 8% or 25,000 jobs. An announcement is expected next week.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares were down $1.53 to $33.93. The New York Times reported that active trading by hedge funds has boosted the loss resulting from JPMorgan's bad trade from $2 billion to $3 billion. JPMorgan sources disputed the assertion.
Sears Holdings (SHLD), up $1.55 to $52.42, was the top-performing S&P 500 stock. The company reported better-than-expected fiscal-first-quarter results and said it was spinning off part of its Sears Canada business. Sears earned $189 million, or $1.78 a share, up from a loss of $170 million, or $1.58, a year ago. Revenue was off 2.8% to $9.27 billion.
Only six Dow stocks were higher today, along with just 30 S&P 500 stocks and five Nasdaq-100 stocks.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.0900%||0.090%||0.00%||800.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||0.730%||0.740%||-9.99%||-12.05%|
|10-year Treasury note||1.702%||1.765%||-11.12%||-9.03%|
|30-year Treasury bond||2.805%||2.906%||-9.78%||-2.91%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||81.54||81.524||3.41%||1.26%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.632||£0.628||2.71%||-1.74%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.27||$1.27||-4.07%||-1.92%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.787||€ 0.786||4.24%||1.96%|
|U.S. $ in yen||79.30||80.34||-0.87%||2.85%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.32||6.31||0.30%||-0.10%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$92.56||$92.81||-11.74%||-6.34%|
"The reports raised fears of a slowdown, although many economists believe the economy is stronger than a year ago."
What lousy journalism! Who are these "economists"? They don't have a clue what they are talking about so my advice to Charley is...stop reporting this type of nonsense! And guess what...I "believe" that the economy is weaker than it was a year ago!
Jobless numbers are about to go up as high school and college grads enter the work force, adding to the millions already looking for work. The Facebook IPO is going to be a dud. The Greeks will end up leaving the Eurozone and print their own worthless currency to pay back their debts, a soft default but a default none the less. Spain is just about on the ropes as well and with the new socialist governments forming in France and Greece we are looking at the end of the EURO sooner than later.
The stock market looks like a repeat of 2010 and 2011 all over again. Make all the gains on hype and manipulated data only to end up with a 5% gain by the end of the year.
Lets look at some other things that might indicate that we are headed for about a 20% drop from our current levels. The true unemployment rate is closer to 17% than the 8.2% the govt. says it is. Consumer debt is increasing at an alarming rate. After Greece leaves the Eurozone; Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and possibly Italy and France will follow. the holders of any European debt will suffer tremendous losses. This will inevitably lead to a major slowdown in the Chinese and the U.S. economies. There just will not be the demand for goods and services now produced. Oil prices are about to hit $90 per bbl and once that happens they will not stop until they reach $75 per bbl. and every other commodity will most likely follow. I am looking at Dow 9,000 or lower by the election.
Bye Bye Barack-Your presidency will be forever compared to that of Jimmy Carter.
Jobs, Manufacturing, and every other indicator of growth are going in the wrong direction. Could this be related to the fact that our "Great Socialist Leader" <Obama> has our entire country headed in the wrong direction.
Change I can believe in will be Mitt Romney in the White House next year!!!!
"Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its manufacturing index fell to -5.8 in May from 8.5 in April, quite a bit lower than expected. Of greatest concern was that the report's employment index fell more than expected. But some economists cautioned that the report, while widely watched, can be quite volatile."
Oh really...can be quite volatile? So if the report showed great improvement...I guess one could say that the report could be quite volatile...right? Of course this would never be stated because when things are bad everyone tries to come back with an adjusted report to make things look better than they really are or they just attribute the great results to an "improving economy" and "consumer confidence". The TRUTH is that our economy with perhaps a few exceptions...SUCKS! so just accept it and move on.
Don't soft peddle it - it's not misinform , it's LYING
Right from our Dear Leader, through his minions in the media - HELLO MSNBC, MSN, CNN !
That's why Obuma MUST be shown the door in Nov
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[BRIEFING.COM] A solid November employment report translated into a solid day of gains for the major averages. While there was some talk that the encouraging job growth raised the odds of the Fed announcing a tapering at its December meeting, the message of the markets today was either that it didn't believe there would be a tapering this month or that it doesn't fear a tapering this month.
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