Dow off 121 as post-election swoon continues
Investors worry about the economy, the fiscal cliff and Europe. Disney and Nordstrom earnings disappoint. Apple continues its slide since September. McDonald's monthly sales fall for the first time in 9 years. Gold and crude oil move higher.
Stocks finished at their lowest levels since the summer today as another slide in Apple (AAPL) shares pulled tech stocks lower and McDonald's (MCD) reported a surprising decline in October sales.
Apple was down $20.25 to $537.75, its seventh loss in the last 11 days, on worries that production problems are limiting iPhone 5 availability. There's talk investors are starting to ask what the company's next big wonder product might be. McDonald's was off $1.73 to $85.13 and was the biggest weight on the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU), which fell for the second day in a row.
The major indexes all ended the day below their 200-day moving averages, which are key indicators of investor confidence.
After the close, shares of Walt Disney (DIS) were off 97 cents to $49.07. The company reported fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings of 68 cents a share, up from 59 cents a year ago and in line with Street estimates. Revenue of $10.78 billion, up from $10.43 billion, missed the Street estimate of $10.92 billion. Nordstrom (JWN) shares also were falling after hours as earnings of 71 cents a share missed the Street estimate of 72 cents.
The Dow closed down 121 points to 12,811, its lowest close since July 25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was off 17 points to 1,378, its lowest close since Aug. 2. The close for the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was 2,896, down 42 points, and its lowest close since July 23. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), heavily influenced by Apple, was down 40 points to 2,573.
Article continues below.McDonald's said same-store sales fell 1.8% in October, as consumers flocked to rivals, including Burger King (BKW), which has been revamping its menus. The company said sales were down 2.2% in the U.S. and Europe. Sales fell 2.4% in its Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. McDonald's contributed more than 13 points to the Dow's loss by itself. Half of the Dow's loss came from declines in McDonald's, United Technologies (UTX), Caterpillar (CAT), Home Depot (HD) and Chevron (CVX).
The Dow has fallen 434 points in two days. That's its worst two-day loss since the blue chips fell 573 points on Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2011.
The euro's fall hurts U.S. stocks; oil and gold rise
The euro fell to a two-month low against the dollar after the European Central Bank held interest rates at a record low and said the eurozone economy showed little sign of recovering before year-end.
In addition, a European Union official said a decision on unlocking funds for Greece may not be made until late November. European stocks closed lower. A falling euro (or a rising dollar) makes U.S. exports less competitive.
Crude oil (-CL) in New York settled up 65 cents to $85.09 a barrel today. Gold (-GC) settled up $12 to $1,724.20 an ounce.
The 10-year Treasury yield was 1.632%, unchanged from Wednesday.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$85.09||$84.44||-1.33%||-13.90%|
|Heating oil (-HO)||$2.9554||$2.9621||-3.49%||1.41%|
|Natural gas (-NG)||$3.6080||$3.5780||-2.28%||20.71%|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|Unleaded gasoline (-RB)||$2.6073||$2.5889||-0.87%||-1.89%|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
A nervous market
Investors were probably a little punchy after stocks suffered their worst one-day losses in nearly a year with the Dow's 313-point drop on Wednesday.
The sell-off was due in part to President Obama's re-election and the uncertainty because of the so-called "fiscal cliff" -- the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that will kick in starting Jan. 1 unless Congress and the White House can agree on changes.
The fiscal cliff would drive the U.S. economy back into recession next year and result in a jump in the jobless rate to 9.1% by the end of 2013, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office said.
The CBO, the independent budget arm of Congress, said economic output would drop by 0.5% in 2013 without action. But the CBO added the U.S. economy would in the longer run return to better growth rates and lower employment, with the U.S. unemployment dropping perhaps to 5.5% by 2020, The Wall Street Journal noted.
In addition, worries are deepening about economic woes in Europe. Germany's economy is starting to slow down, and political tensions were high in Greece after its parliament agreed to new austerity measures.
The Dow and S&P 500 are off roughly 6% since a market peak in mid-September. The Nasdaq has fallen 9.1% since Sept. 14, when it closed at a 2012 high of 3,184.
If the fiscal cliff takes effect, it will result in an increase in tax rates on dividends.
Because of that potential, Leggett & Platt (LEG), which makes components used in bedding and furniture, accelerated the payment of its fourth-quarter dividend of 29 cents a share to Dec. 10 to qualify for 2012 tax rates. Leggett & Platt was down 17 cents to $26.84.
Lastly, the third-quarter earnings season has produced profits that have met estimates for the most part. Revenues for S&P 500 companies are beating estimates less than 40% of the time, instead of the usual 62%. Part of that is due to slowing non-U.S. business and the dollar's depressing effect on international revenue. If the dollar rises, the value of non-U.S. revenue falls.
The Apple effect on markets
The peaks for the major averages appear to tracking with Apple's tumble from an all-time closing high of $702.10 on Sept. 19 and a record intraday high of $705.07 on Sept. 21.
The reason to concentrate on Apple is that it is the world's most valuable company, and it has shed about $143 billion in market capitalization as the stock has slid more than 22% since those September highs. Apple represents about 17% of the market capitalization of the Nasdaq-100 and 4% of the S&P 500.
There are lots of reasons why Apple has fallen so much. The stock was up 73% for the year at its peak. By a number of measures, the shares were overbought, and it's vulnerable to violent moves because it is the largest holding of many of the biggest hedge funds. If they start to sell, bad things can happen quickly.
It is possible that Apple is nearing a bottom. Its 14-day relative strength index was below 22 today. The index measures a stock's momentum. A reading below 30 implies a stock is oversold. A reading above 70 suggests a stock is overbought and nearing a pullback.
Another broad slump
Only four of the 30 Dow stocks were higher today: Bank of America (BAC), Boeing (BA), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Travelers Companies (TRV). The laggards were Cisco Systems (CSCO) and McDonald's.
In addition, only 146 S&P 500 stocks were higher, along with 194 Nasdaq-100 stocks.
Chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM, Century Link (CTL) and Verisign (VRSN) were the S&P 500 leaders. Qualcomm's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings beat Street estimates, thanks to an explosion in demand for smartphones. It boosted its first-quarter guidance.
Verisign and Qualcomm were also the top Nasdaq-100 stocks. Whole Foods Market (WFM) and SanDisk (SNDK) were the laggards.
Whole Foods, down $5.62 to $90.31, offered lower-than-expected guidance for the fiscal first quarter. Results will be hurt by disruptions to its operations in the Northeast by Superstorm Sandy.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.0900%||0.100%||-18.18%||800.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||0.643%||0.662%||-10.07%||-22.53%|
|10-year Treasury note||1.632%||1.632%||-3.20%||-12.77%|
|30-year Treasury bond||2.769%||2.821%||-2.88%||-4.15%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||80.886||80.867||1.12%||0.45%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.625||£0.625||0.92%||-2.83%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.28||$1.28||-1.63%||-1.59%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.784||€ 0.783||1.66%||1.62%|
|U.S. $ in yen||79.41||79.95||-0.49%||2.99%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.26||6.24||0.48%||-0.98%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$85.09||$84.440||-1.33%||-13.90%|
Thumbs down if you are concerned about AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming).
Thumbs up if you are not concerned.
so funny reading these posts. I hate Obama but Romney is just as bad. Sounds like the world is going to end. Did you all lose your jobs? Oh wait, all you do all day is sit around and talk crap on here and invest your money. You guys don't know what an honest living is. Thats the problem.
Over 11 million fewer votes cast in this election than in 2008. Were they all Repubs? Or is it more of the country has gotten like Florida than is being reported.
Notice how Charley Blaine here, who spent all of last year mentioning Greece on every down turn, in mentioning continued declines from election; didn't bother to utter the word Greece on the same day that CNN just announced that protests in Greece have turned violent...
I guess it was a blame Greece until they could mention Obama, then suddenly with things looking ready to head to a revolution or pre-revolutionary phase, the financial press has at that time moved onto the new story, without taking a look back?
Yes it's ridiculous to invoke Greece on every sneeze the stock market takes, but at the same time, things falling into violent protest, perhaps a pre-revolutionary phase where some want to overthrow the current government there? wouldn't necessarily be without consideration in the minds of investors either. Can we perhaps get a more balanced approach that isn't all or nothing, like today everything that happens has to be Greece as if nothing else exists; and tommarow everything has to be the elections, once again as if they existed in a vacuum and nothing else was going on in the whole wide world as well?
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[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices continue hovering near their flat lines with the Nasdaq (+0.2%) trading a bit ahead of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (+0.1%).
In addition to drawing strength from biotechnology, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has received noteworthy support from microchip manufacturers after SanDisk (SNDK 83.65, +7.80) and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM 20.70, +0.55) reported strong quarterly results. The two hold respective gains of 10.4% and ... More
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