Stocks fall on jobs, GDP data
US unemployment claims dip, while an estimate on economic growth holds steady. Global markets tumble. European confidence drops unexpectedly. Gold rises, while oil declines.
Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET
U.S. stocks were sliding for a third day after initial jobless claims missed expectations amid losses in European markets.
Stocks fell Wednesday along with commodities. Materials and energy stocks dragged down the market amid disappointing domestic and European economic data. A report on durable goods in the U.S. saw bounce in February, although one that was less than expected.
The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to 359,000 for the week ended March 24 from a revised 364,000 in the prior week. Economists expected claims to come in at 350,000 from an orginally reported 348,000.
Also Thursday, the government announced its third read on economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2011. The Bureau of Economic Analysis' third estimate on fourth-quarter GDP held steady at 3%, in line with expectations. The growth rate is up from 1.8% annualized growth rate in the third quarter although still worrisome, especially given that growth is expected to pull back going into the first quarter of 2012.
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“The pace of improvement is leveling out and while GDP was not revised the sub components were a bit better for the economy with better final sales and a downtick in the inventory contribution,” said David Ader, strategist with CRT Capital.
European stocks were down ahead of a meeting in Copenhagen on Friday where European governments will aim to increase the rescue firewall in the region. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to allow the increase.
The European Commission also said an index of executive and consumer sentiment fell to a reading of 94.4 in March from a revised 94.5 in February.
On Thursday, Germany's DAX ended down 1.77%, while London's FTSE lost 1.1%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed down 1.32%, while the Nikkei Average in Japan finished lower by 0.67% overnight.
In corporate news, Best Buy (BBY), the electronics retailer, reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $2.47 a share, excluding items, on revenue of $16.73 billion. Analysts were expecting profit of $2.16 a share on revenue of $17.2 billion. Same-store sales dipped 2.4%; Wall Street was expecting a decline of 0.6%.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche increased its unsolicited offer for Illumina (ILMN) to $51 a share, valuing the U.S. diagnostics company at more than $6.5 billion. Roche's previous offer of $44.50 a share was rejected by Illumina's board as being too low. Illumina told its shareholders to "take no action at this time."
Red Hat (RHT), the open source software company, posted earnings in the February-ended quarter that topped analysts' estimates. Red Hat reported a non-GAAP adjusted profit of $57.2 million, or 29 cents a share, on revenue of $297 million, up more than 20% from last year. Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $291.2 million. The company also unveiled a $300 million buyback program.
Red Lion Hotels (RLH) announced plans to explore strategic options. The company said its board has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to look at ways to "maximize shareholder value, including a potential sale of the company or a strategic combination with a third party."
May oil futures were down $1.98 to $103.43. April gold futures were shedding $10.20 to $1,647.70 an ounce.
The dollar index was 0.19% higher. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 12/32 diluting the yield to 2.163%.
Just the usual Obamanomics drivil...
I see that the Obama Budget lost in the house 414 - 0. Not even a single Democrat could vote for his Tax and Spend Budget. Not one wanted to be on record as wanting massive tax increases and massive new spending. This has to show you just how clueless Obama truely is.
Mr. Obama got his vote on HIS budget. Shameful. One democrat even said it was equivelent to his communist manifesto... I'd hate to be him when the phone rings, "Please hold for Mr. Obama"...
And of course the Senate has not passed a budget in years... This years didn't even come up for a vote. I wonder if Obama's would lose again 97-0.
Sadly this President and the Demcorats refuse to lead. They just stall. And the try to pin the label on Republicans as the party of No... Seems with EVERY democrat in Congress voting against Obamanomics their self preservation instincts are kicking in....
Think I saw this last week also, but wait they revised last weeks up. Wait till next week they will revise this weeks up. Just more kool-aid for all to drink and somehting for MsM and others to lie about
Chinese firm surpasses Exxon in
This is another statement that CONFIRMS we are getting screwed by the oil companies. They use the excuse that China is taking all of our oil, you jack asses they are producing more oil than Exxon. How are they taking all of our oil? They can feed us all this BS because we have no way of proving them wrong until statements like this are made. Just like the economy, they say it's getting better, bull****! Today's headlines read Best Buy to close 50 stores, yea it sounds like things are getting better. Almost every day you read something like this but the economy is getting better. The economy will only get better when gas prices come down and stay down. We have no confidence in our leaders to help us out. We come out of a depression in 08 thinking we were going to be okay and then gas shot back up again and is staying there now, we are not falling for this again. You will never see us spend like we use to, first of all we don't have it because of gas and food prices and secong of all we know if it would happen to drop down to where we could afford it it won't stay down long. The American dream don't exist anymore. It's American survival now!
Swag, I said $200 billion is a start. I would prefer to see defense cut in half too. $400 billion would save $4 trillion over 10 years. That would go a long way to help balance our budget. And we need to spend $2 trillion on public works projects over the next 10 years. That's a lot of jobs all going toward rebuilding our country that is falling apart.
Just no "bridge to nowhere" please!!!
Why is anyone not covered by Health Insurance? Are people holding guns to their heads saying we will not allow you to buy healthcare coverage? No.
So what is the reason people choose to go without? Is it because they CHOOSE to lead unhealthy life styles> Do they wait until they are truely sick and then realize they gambled and lost? Did they choose flat screen TV's and cell phones over healthcare coverage? Didi they buy a car or house instead of healthcare coverage?
Mr. Obama could have just "mandated" that those without coverage BUY their own. Instead he tried to mandate that others pay for their coverage and for those without. Typical socialist approach to a problem.
He could have expanded Medicare to to cover everyone, and raised the tax to close to 15% to pay for it. Before government involvement with Medicare and Medicaid, Healthcare consumed 7% of GDP, today that number is 17%, which means universal healthcare requires a 17% tax to cover its cost.
Why people have faith in the government for the healthcare is beyond me. Government is the problem, not the solution....
The market has gone from 6k to 13k. Some of you guys have been screaming and complaining the whole way up.
I'd be upset too if I missed a rally like that!
There are many variations of the multiplier effect, but in essence it measures the circulation of currency in a local economy. Your income is spent, which becomes someone else's income. When they spend that, it becomes another's income, ad infinitum until that dollar leaves the system via the purchase of an import.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session with slim gains after showing some intraday volatility in reaction to the release of the latest policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, while the relative strength among small caps sent the Russell 2000 higher by 0.3%.
Equities spent the first half of the session near their flat lines as participants stuck to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC statement, which conveyed no changes to the ... More
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