Dow falls 214 on earnings, European worries

The blue chips and the S&P 500 suffer their fifth straight losses, their longest losing streaks since August. Alcoa surprises by showing a 1st-quarter profit; shares jump. Best Buy's CEO resigns. Oil falls to $101 a barrel, but gold rises.

By Charley Blaine Apr 10, 2012 1:13PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:52 p.m. ET

Stocks suffered their worst one-day losses since at least December on nervousness about first-quarter corporate earnings along with growing worries about European debt problems.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) closed down more than 200 points and suffered their third loss of 100 points or more in the last four sessions.

But Dow component Alcoa (AA) surprised investors by reporting earnings of 10 cents a share for the first quarter; analysts had expected a loss of 4 cents. Revenue was up slightly to $6.01 billion, up from $5.77 billion a year ago. Shares were up 49 cents after hours to $9.81. The shares had fallen 28 cents to $9.32 in regular trading.

Apple (AAPL) briefly offered investors some cheer. Its market capitalization momentarily touched $600 billion when the shares hit a new high of $644. The stock, however, dropped back to $628.44, down $7.79.

The Dow closed down 214 points to 12,716; the blue-chip index had been down to as low as 12,711. The five-day losing streak is the blue chips' longest since late July and early August. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) dropped 24 points to 1,359, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) fell 56 points to 2,991, its first close below 3,000 since March 12. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), heavily influenced by Apple, was off 45 points to 2,695.

Article continues below.
The Dow suffered its biggest point loss since Nov. 23, while the S&P 500's loss was its biggest since Dec. 8. The Nasdaq's point loss was its largest since Nov. 9.

While the Dow and S&P 500 were off for the fifth day in a row, the Nasdaq was off for the fourth day in the last five.

The Dow may be off 3.75% for April and 4.1% since peaking on April 2, but it is still up 4.1% for the year. The S&P 500 is down 3.5% since its April 2 peak but is up 8% for the year. The Nasdaq is up 14.8% for the year but is down 4.1% since April 2.

The S&P 500 broke below some important technical levels, including 1,370, which was its intraday high in May 2011 before the market broke during the summer. It's also fallen below its 50-day moving average, a key indicator of investor confidence. The index finished just below 1,360, part of a long-term trend line that's been in place since October.

Alcoa's results may give investors a reason to buy. Futures trading suggests U.S. stocks will open slightly higher.

European stocks fell sharply in large part because of worries about Spain's economic and financial health. The yield on Spain's 10-year bond nearly reached 6%, up from 4.99% at the end of March. Spanish stocks fell 2.9% and Italian stocks fell 5%. Germany's Dax Index ($DE:DAX) was off 169 points to 6,606. The FTSE-100 Index ($GB:UKX) in Britain fell 128 points to 5,596.

Oil falls, but gold moves up
The selling pushed crude oil (-CL) to $101.02 a barrel, down $1.44 and its lowest level since mid-February. Brent crude, the benchmark North Sea oil, was down $1.93 to $119.82 a barrel.

The retail price of gasoline fell for the fourth day in a row, to $3.922 a gallon, down from Monday's $3.927, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Gold (-GC), meanwhile, settled up $16.80 to $1,660.70 an ounce. Silver (-SI) rose $15.50 an ounce to $31.679. But copper (-HG), sensitive to global industrial trends, dropped 7 cents to $3.65 a pound, a three-month low.

The European worries prompted the dollar to rise against the euro and the British pound. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to 1.981% from Monday's 2.037%.

Energy prices -- New York close



Tues.

Mon.

Month chg.

YTD chg.
Crude oil (-CL)

$101.02

$102.46

-1.94%

2.22%
(per barrel)











Heating oil (-HO)

$3.0957

$3.1459

-2.35%

6.23%
(per gallon)











Natural gas (-NG)

$2.0310

$2.1070

-4.47%

-32.05%
(per mil. BTU)











Unleaded gasoline (-RB)

$3.2496

$3.2967

-1.77%

22.28%
(per gallon)











Brent crude 

$119.88

$122.67

-2.44%

11.64%
(per barrel)











Retail gasoline

$3.9220

$3.9270

-0.08%

19.72%
(per gallon; AAA)












A broad loss -- but light volume
The market was broadly lower, with volume relatively light. New York Stock Exchange volume may hit 800 million shares.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was the only Dow component showing a gain, rising 13 cents to $23.27. Bank of America (BAC), down 39 cents to $8.54, and Caterpillar (CAT), off $3.14 to $100.43, were the laggards.

Only 19 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by supermarket operator Supervalu (SVU) and solar-panel maker First Solar (FSLR), up 81 cents to $6.13 and $1.19 to $21.38, respectively. Lennar (LEN), off $1.92 to $24.50, and Federated Investors (FII), off $1.53 to $20.89, were the worst S&P 500 performers.

First Solar and Dell (DELL), up 3 cents to $16.25, were the only Nasdaq-100 stocks to finish higher. Building materials distributor Fastenal (FAST), down $2.68 to $48.90, and Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), down 11 cents to $2.22, were the Nasdaq-100 laggards.

Apple's decline subtracted nearly 7 points from the index.

Shares of homebuilders, industrial companies and metals producers were among the weakest sectors. Pulte Homes (PHM) was off 54 cents to $7.69; D.R. Horton (DHI) dropped 65 cents to $14.05. Caterpillar rival Joy Global (JOY) was off 84 cents to $72.04. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) fell 88 cents to $36.63

Best Buy's CEO resigns
amid probe into 'personal conduct'
Shares of electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) closed down $1.33 to $21.32 today after the company announced CEO Brian Dunn had resigned. The shares hit a 52-week low of $21.21.

At first, the company said Dunn and the company agreed together he should leave. Late today, however, the company said the resignation came amid a board probe into his "personal conduct."

"Certain issues were brought to the board's attention regarding Mr. Dunn's personal conduct, unrelated to the company's operations or financial controls, and an audit committee investigation was initiated," the company said in a statement. "Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Dunn chose to resign."

The company offered no details on the probe. But the stock was up 43 cents to $21.75.

Director Mike Mikan is taking over as interim CEO while Best Buy searches for Dunn's replacement. Best Buy has been struggling against competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) and others. 

Supervalu beats estmates, guides higher
Supervalu shares jumped after the supermarket operator reported a fiscal-fourth-quarter profit of 38 cents a share, excluding one-time charges, beating the 35 cents consensus estimate. The company’s full-year profit forecast of $1.27 and $1.42 a share also beat expectations.

Sony (SNE), the Japanese electronics giant, said it would lose 520 billion yen ($6.4 billion) during its current fiscal year, more than the earlier predictions 220 billion yen. Sony is recording a charge of 300 billion yen from write-offs of deferred tax credits in the U.S. Sony forecast a return to profit in the year through March 2013. Shares were off $1.86 to $18.24 in New York.

Tenet Healthcare (THC) fell 9 cents to $5.02, the lowest price since Jan. 18. The hospital operator agreed to pay $42.8 million to settle claims that it overbilled the federal Medicare system at 25 facilities from 2005 to 2007.

More small-business pessimism
The economic data were a bit downbeat.

The National Federation of Independent Business said small business owners have been more pessimistic about the economy. Its business optimism index declined to 92.5 in March from February's 94.3 after six months of improvement. As owners grow more doubtful about sales and profits, hiring plans may also be put on hold.
 
The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories increased 0.9% in February, more than the 0.5% forecast by economists, after rising 0.6% in January. Sales jumped 1.2% as buyers ramped up to meet consumer demand.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



Tues.

Mon.

Month chg.

YTD chg.
Treasury yields











13-week Treasury bill

0.0800%  0.070%

14.29%  700.00%
5-year Treasury note 

0.852%  0.902%

-18.31%  2.65%
10-year Treasury note

1.982%  2.037%

-10.56%  5.93%
30-year Treasury bond

3.130%  3.184%

-6.43%  8.34%
Currencies











U.S. Dollar Index

80.098  79.919  1.21%  -0.53%
British pound

1.5865  1.5906  -0.90%  2.11%
(in U.S. $)

          
U.S. $ in pounds

£0.630  £0.629  0.91%  -2.07%
Euro in dollars

$1.31  $1.31  -1.89%  1.05%
(in U.S. $)

          
U.S. $ in euros

€ 0.764  € 0.763  1.92%  -1.04%
U.S. $ in yen 

80.91  81.56  -2.51%   4.94%
U.S. $ in Chinese

6.33  6.30  0.12%  0.03%
yuan

            
Canada dollar

$0.997  $1.003  -0.50%  1.65%
(in U.S. $)

          
U.S. dollar 

$1.004  $0.997  0.51%  -1.63%
(in Canadian $)











Commodities

 

 

 

 
Gold (-GC)

$1,660.70

$1,643.90

-0.67%

5.99%
(per troy ounce)











Copper (-HG)

$3.650

$3.720

-4.58%

6.23%
(per pound)











Silver (-SI)

$31.6790

$31.5240

-2.48%

13.48%
(per troy ounce)











Wheat (-ZW)

$6.2575

$6.4300

-5.30%

-4.14%
(per bushel)











Corn (-ZC)

$6.3475

$6.490

-1.44%

-1.82%
(per bushel)











Cotton 

$0.8826

0.893

-6.03%

-3.73%
(per pound)











Coffee

$1.8045

1.8055

-2.46%

-21.42%
(per pound)











Crude oil (-CL)

$101.02

$102.46

-1.94%

2.22%
(per barrel)










 

201Comments
Apr 10, 2012 3:56PM
avatar

  Congress has some really rich people, they really know how to play the market, and spend a lot of time doing it, tax free. With all the laws that restrict the workers of this country lets place some much needed restrictions on our government.

  I pay taxes on my income, taxes on the fuel to get to the store. Taxes on purchasing food with the money that was already taxed, then tax on the fuel to get home. Then tax on the electricity to keep it cold in a house I pay taxes on, then tax on the gas to heat the food, on taxed equipment, before I finally get to eat my bacon.

  What in the world is my government spending all this money on. The roads are shot, the air is dirty, the water is nasty, the plants and animals are dying, most of the other countries hate me simply because I am American. I can't travel anywhere without fear of being raped at the airport and kidnapped when I arrive at my destination. Nobody wants me to have a gun, people are stealing from cars and houses all over the city.

  And wow the stock market is down.  Crying

Apr 10, 2012 1:43PM
avatar
Is ANYONE surprised? Anyone who has read the REAL financial reports for the last 3 months knew this was coming... and likely just the start.  The Obama regime can't control ALL the news -- because we're not quite a Socialist nation... yet.
Apr 10, 2012 2:00PM
avatar
Bary, Barry, Barry ..... you are in trouble, my friend! The positive run of the stock market is over. Unemployment is going back up ... probaly to 10% by summer. Gas will be at $5.00 ... and your election hopes are going down the tubes. In a poll, yesterday, it had Obama and Romney dead even. Wait for all the things listed above to actually come to fruition.  Then Romney will start his campaign to show the country how poorly you have performed in the last 4 years!! Did I mention the $6 trillion in unpaybale debt!! One and done!!
Apr 10, 2012 3:16PM
avatar
Still waiting for all that "hope and  change", or was that "no hope and no change".  Obama must go!
Apr 10, 2012 1:53PM
avatar
Where do you guys get your information from? GADS, Most of us aren't worried about Spain or Europe's' problems. We have enough of our own. The unemployment numbers are just horrible. Our country is in a total mess and you keep printing out the same dribble for the reason the market drops!!! Do any of your colleagues have a clue as to what is really happening here?
Apr 10, 2012 3:04PM
avatar

Warren Buffett is correct in his thinking, but don't tax the wealthy anymore than their current rate. Decrease taxes for the rest of us to the 15 percent rate and cut government waste and spending to compensate and reduce the national debt.

Get our government's nose out of the rest of the world's business and oil prices will go down. Quit sanctioning others and take care of our business for a change.

Apr 10, 2012 3:57PM
avatar

Can someone explain why  YTD The crude  oil is just 2% up but the oil business is charging 20% more for Retail Gas ? 

 

 

 

Tues.

 

 

Mon.

 

 

Month chg.

 

 

YTD chg.

Crude Oil -CL

 

 

$101.02

 

 

$102.46

 

 

-1.94%

 

 

2.22%

Retail gasoline

 

 

$3.9220

 

 

$3.9270

 

 

-0.08%

 

 

19.72%

Apr 10, 2012 3:18PM
avatar

bottom line. we all pay more than enough in taxes. our leaders just waste more of our moneys than they should. they line their pockets at our expense. there is more than enough money. we don't need higher taxes or more new taxes. we need a leader that will cutt the waste and start running our country like he is responsible. quit pointing fingers but go and fix it. fraud and waste is our problem.

again, there is more than enough revenue from taxes. fraud and greed is one problem. second and more than likely the biggest problem we have a idiot bully president that likes to curve the blame for a bidget that he put together.

folks oboma has spent more money than the last 10 presidents combines. really, you folks don't get it. more than the last 10 combined. this is fact... he is a troll and should be in jail for doing this.

if he was a CEO of a private company he would be in jail.

he has an open check book and he cares less about us. devide and kill is what he is about. very sad. he spends and spends but  doesn't open his eyes to managing the tax payers dollars. billions and billions he is wasting. very sad.

Apr 10, 2012 4:45PM
avatar
Where is the optimism and hope?  Don't you like the changes:  less transparency, more special interest and lobbyists in government, even more government workers at higher wages and more government party conferences, adding 5 trillion in debt and getting nothing, more hate racism and a divided country, and a arrogant, ineffectual, socialist for president.  Marx would be proud.
Apr 10, 2012 3:16PM
avatar
Thanks again Obama for continuing to screw up the economy with your hair brained and anti-intellectual approach. I wish you would try flying to your global destinations in pursuit of your anti-American goals in a windmill and solar powered airplane. You need not worry, you would find yourself, as you do now, stalled in the same place as you began - just like your failed administration. Hail the Chief of high gas prices and low bowing to Saudi Princes. Kneel facing the East.
Apr 10, 2012 5:49PM
avatar
Want the real unemployment figures? Stop the government from using bogus information. Don't count part time employment! Don't count low income jobs at fast food restaurents etc. Only count employment where workers are paid a living wage. Unemployment records aren't a true indicator of  the unemployment situation.
Apr 10, 2012 4:31PM
avatar
Oil down to $101.  Yet we are paying the same for gas.  What a racket!!!
Apr 10, 2012 3:48PM
avatar
WOW     This administration is really helping this country?  The only thing they are helping is how to line their pockets with the tax payers money.
Apr 10, 2012 2:35PM
avatar
AGAIN WITH THE EUROPEAN WORRY ****, WHAT ABOUT THE JOB SITUATION, THE STILL OBVIOUS HOUSING DILEMMA AND THE PRICE OF GAS.THE LAST PART OF THIS ARTICLE HITS HOME ABOUT THE ECONOMY. WE NEED TO FOCUS MORE ON OUR ISSUES AT HOME AND NOT THE EUROZONE, CHINAZONE AND EVERY OTHER DAM ZONE.IF OIL KEEPS GOING UP AT THE PRESENT RATE, AND THE JOB MARKET DOESNT TRULY IMPROVE(FULL TIME WORK,BETTER SALARIES,MORE STABILITY) THE HOUSING WILL NEVER RECOVER AT A CONFORTABLE RATE AND NEITHER WILL THE WHOLE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK.
Apr 10, 2012 2:46PM
avatar
All I hear all the time is how much power Bush had over Oil and it's price at the pump and per barrel.

Now we have Obama with no power and it's Bushes fault still?

Show some nads  and do your JOB Mr.President but he cannot do anything about it.
 Now it is the President has no control over anything? Convenient .

So why re-elect a President who cannot get anything done?

4 more years of blaming everybody else,sounds like my x-wife and not being accountable for herself  sounds just like Obama.

Get rid of this dumb .
Apr 10, 2012 5:28PM
avatar
I do not believe the election will change anything, regardless of who wins.  The forces involved, and the amount of time wasted in trying to off-set the direction we are going in are now too large to be over-come.  The government should have let those companies die that could not make money without being bailed out, and let the economy drop into what would have been a short, but very painful depression, instead of trying to stave off the inevitable.  History shows that taking steps to prevent an economic collapse only leads to a much longer, much deeper depression.  We have an aritficial economy at present, and IT WILL FALL.
Apr 10, 2012 4:45PM
avatar
Actually I very surprised the economy is reacting so quickly to the rise in fuel and other major inflationary trends.  Usually it takes about 6 months of such price hieghts to affect the economy.  However one must consider that many Americans are at lower wage scales than prior to 2008, when things "fell off the cliff".  Without a huge dip in pricing on gasoline the downward trend will continue.  I am a business owner, my phone stopped ringing about 6 weeks ago and we see no uptick in demand at all.  Also our expenses such as insurance have spiked 15% putting downward pressure on profits. 
Apr 10, 2012 4:29PM
avatar

I couldn't figure why the market was up in the first place.... Honestly what has gotten better? We have trillions more govt debt not counting what is Not on the books. Govt keeps expanding the handouts creating more debt. The govt is printing money to go ahead and buy our own debt... What are we actually doing to create jobs... Millions x 100 are given to green companies that cannot function on their own only to go bankrupt such as solandra and 123. For what but to pay back political contributors. We stifle energy production as much as we can except for the expansion of exploration on private land that Obama hasn't found a way to stop yet. Student Loan debt is in the TRILLIONS and is the next crash. Housing hasn't bottomed out yet and the foreclosed homes that should be offered to Americans is now being bundled and sold for pennies on the dollar to corporations to keep out of the hands of individuals for deals. I'm glad I live conservatively in my life and business dealings...

To saddened retiree- My gold is up 30%... thanks. ( Although I don't have much) I can but an extra tank of gas...

Apr 10, 2012 3:08PM
avatar

I think the Obama "bailout Band-Aid" is finally falling off!.........I would hate to say i told you so!

 

But of course its my opinion that, that was the plan.

Apr 10, 2012 4:07PM
avatar

AND THE CLASS WARFARE WILL CONTINUE IN FL. TOMORROW - PRESIDENT OBAMA IS GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE BUFFET RULE -

 

Mr. President

 

In order to have dividend income, which is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary earned income (from a W-2), you must earn income to have money to invest.  If you have made money from earned income then you are investing already taxed money (at federal income tax levels).  The investment of the already taxed money is not guaranteed a profit (capital gain).  It is a risk on the part of the investor.

 

Also, everyone who pays income tax pays at least a portion at the 10% level.  For a married couple, the first $17K was taxed at 10% for 2011.  Everyone gets the same standard deduction of $11,600 for 2011 plus $3,700 or each dependent.  If you made $50,000 in W-2 income in 2011 as a married couple, you only paid tax on $31,000, after deducting the $11,600 and 2 exemptions of $3,700 each.  You paid 10% on the first $17,000 and 15% on the remaining $14,000 or $1,700 plus $2,100 respectively, for a total federal income tax of $3,800.  If you divide $3,800 by $50,000 you have an effective tax rate of 7.60%.  You are in the 15% tax bracket but only on the taxable amount over $17,000.

 

The people in this country better wake up and get knowledgeable about THE FACTS and not the rhetoric being skewed forth by Obama and the other DEMS and REPS in Washington.  These people are the problem, but if we as voters are not informed then we are the LOSERS and we deserve what we get.

 

WAKE UP AMERICA!

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