Stocks suffer worst weekly loss in 5 months

The major averages see small gains but fall for the week as sparring begins between the White House and House Speaker Boehner on fixing the fiscal cliff. Apple rallies after three big losses. Disney sags. Kayak jumps after merger with

By Charley Blaine Nov 9, 2012 2:26PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 7:38 p.m. ET

After two nasty days of declines, the stock market struggled to finish ahead today. It succeeded with very small gains, but the major averages still had their worst weekly performance in five months.

If you want to thank someone for at least halting the losses this week, thank consumers, who are more confident about the economy. Thank Apple (AAPL), which rallied today after three straight declines.

Thank (PCLN), which is buying Kayak Software (KYAK), operator of the Kayak travel site, for some $1.8 billion. Kayak shares were up $8.63 to $39.67.

The wild card for the market today has been Washington and the fiscal cliff -- the mixture of government spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect Jan. 1. Remarks today by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner suggested there remain big differences in approach. Big enough, in fact, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) briefly fell into the red after Obama said a solution to the fiscal cliff had to be balanced -- some tax increases and spending cuts. Boehner opposes any tax increases.

The Dow ultimately finished with a 4-point gain to 12,815. The blue chips had been up as many as 79 points and down as many as 26 after Obama's remarks. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 2 points to 1,380, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) gained 9 points to 2,905.

Article continues below.
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) rose 12 points to 2,584. Apple, which represents about 17% of the market capitalization of the index, rose $9.31 to $547.06. The shares had been as high as $554.88 after falling more than 8% in the past three days.
The Dow's gain would have been more than 20 points higher if Walt Disney (DIS) were flat today. But the entertainment giant's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings and outlook disappointed Wall Street, and the shares were down $2.98 to $47.06.
Despite today's gains, the Dow and the S&P 500 suffered their third straight weekly losses and fourth in the last five. The Nasdaq had its fifth weekly loss in a row and seventh in the last eight weeks.

The Dow fell 2.1% for the week, while the S&P 500 was off 2.4%, their worst weekly performances since the end of May. The Nasdaq's 2.6% loss was its worst since the week of Oct. 8.

Those losses were modest compared with the 3.2% loss suffered by Japan's Nikkei 225 Index ($JP:N225) or the 2.7% decline for Germany's Dax Index ($DE:DAX).

But the week still left the Dow S&P 500 and Nasdaq below their 200-day moving averages, a bearish sign for markets. But the market is oversold by other measures, with a bounceback rally at the very least due in the near future.

The big risks, of course, are the fiscal cliff and what happens in Europe.

Markets for the week



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Consumers are feeling better
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary index of consumer sentiment for November increased to 84.9 from 82.6 the prior month. Economists had expected a reading of around 83.

The gains were due to lower gasoline prices and an improvement in both housing and labor markets, according to Capital Research, an economic consulting firm.

Capital Research economist Amna Asaf was skeptical the gains in the index would translate into more consumer spendiing. The fiscal cliff will get lots of news play and may weigh on markets.

Energy prices -- New York close

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A busy week ahead
The fiscal cliff will dominate headlines next week as will changes in China's leadership and events in Europe.

But the week will feature reports on producer and consumer price inflation on Wednesday and Thursday and important reports on manufacturing in New York and the mid-Atlantic states, also on Thursday.

Plus, the Federal Reserve releases minutes of its October meeting on Wednesday.

It's a big week for earnings, including:
  • Monday: D.R. Horton (DHI) and Jacobs Engineering (JEC).
  • Tuesday: Home Depot (HD), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Michael Kors (KORS) and Saks (SKS).
  • Wednesday: Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Staples (SPLS).
  • Thursday: Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Ross Stores (ROST), Viacom (VIA) and Gap (GPS).
  • Friday: Ann (ANN), Foot Locker (FL) and J.M. Smucker (SJM)
J.C. Penney's terrible year continues

The bad news for J.C. Penney (JCP) keeps getting worse. The struggling department-store chain reported today a wider third-quarter loss than Wall Street expected on a nearly 27% sales drop. 

Shares fell $1.05 to $20.64 and are off 52% from their 2012 high, reached on Feb. 9.

Today's was the third consecutive quarter losses and sales declines as customers continue to show that they're unhappy with Penney's decision this year to ditch hundreds of coupons and annual sales in favor of everyday low pricing.

The poor results underscore the challenges facing Penney CEO Ron Johnson, the former Apple executive brought in a year ago to turn the company around. Since then Johnson, who masterminded Apple's popular retail stores, has been working to change everything at Penney's, from its stores to its merchandise.

The problem is it will takes years to get it all changed, and the big question is whether its board of directors will wait long enough for the changes to work. 

Late today, Standard & Poor's cut the company's credit ratiing to B- from B+. That's deeper into junk territory.

A broad rally fades
At one point, all of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose today. That list dropped to six at the close. The leaders were technology, health care and industrial stocks. The laggards were utility, consumer discretionary, materials and energy shares.

Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT) and IBM (IBM) contributed nearly 30 points to the Dow by themselves. Twenty of the 30 Dow stocks were higher.

Meanwhile, 271 S&P 500 stocks were higher, along with 52 Nasdaq-100 stocks.

International Game Technology (IGT), medical-device maker Covidien (COV) and Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) were the S&P 500 leaders. Disney, J.C. Penney and Microchip Technology (MCHP) were the laggards.

Research In Motion (RIMM) was the Nasdaq-100 leader, followed by Sirius XM Radio (SIRI). The laggards were Microchip Technology and Nvidia (NVDA). 

Separately, Groupon (GRPN) was down $1.16 to $2.76. The online deals service posted third-quarter results that showed slowing revenue growth and a decline of its core business.

But Zipcar (ZIP) was up 96 cents to $7. The car-sharing company posted strong third-quarter results and is still on track to report its first annual profit in 2012.

Oil and gold rise
Crude oil (-CL) in New York settled up 98 cents to $86.07 a barrel. Brent crude in London, the bigger determinant in gasoline prices, had risen $1.99 to $109.24 a barrel.

The national average retail price of gasoline was at $3.456 a gallon, down from Thursday's $3.464.

Gold (-GC) had settled up $4.90 to $1,732.70 an ounce. For the week, gold was up 3.3%, its third-largest weekly gain of the year after the weeks of Jan. 23 and May 28.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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Nov 9, 2012 2:34PM
Obama held a 1pm news conference today.  Now, line that up with the daily chart on the Dow.

Nov 9, 2012 2:57PM
Nov 9, 2012 2:46PM
Consumer confidence and spending up, YEAH RIGHT. How with personal incomes stagnant? What a joke. Those with half a brain can figure out that if you don't have more money in your budget to spend on discretionary items, taking on more debt doesn't work. All smoke and mirrors!!
Nov 9, 2012 2:46PM
When the O speaks - expect a negative close - glad I've been out for some time.
Sold some gold though... ... ...

What a joke 50% of the voters think - Bush did it, and someone is going to treat women here like they do in Islamic countries. 

Wow, I would think women would be smarter than that... ...
Nov 9, 2012 2:44PM

The man is still economically clueless, and of course had no new ideas, besides TAX, SPEND, BORROW and PRINT.


The fiscal cliff is a good beginning.  We can go over and then cut another trillion from the budget.  No more borrowing, no debt ceiling increases.  Just because the President is an imbecile, doesn't mean the rest of us are...

Nov 9, 2012 2:42PM
Consumer Confidence at a 5 year high ? MORE BULL "S" Get ready for the Holiday Season its going to be a beauty for retail business ! TAKE YOUR MONEY AND RUN FRAUD STREET IS GOING TO COLLAPSE !
Nov 9, 2012 3:00PM
Can someone tell me who the ^&%#*ing consumers are they keep polling for this confidence rise ? Do they walk around Donald Trumps neighborhood for this poll ?Or maybe the 90210 zip area?Cause it sure as tihs is not around me anywhere.
Nov 9, 2012 2:59PM
We ain't seen noth'n yet.  Unemployment will be 11%+ by February 2013.  That's a bias number!
Nov 9, 2012 3:06PM
"Days after victory, Obama steps up to the fiscal cliff"

Nov 9, 2012 2:49PM
Actually at this late date there are two cliffs.  One if you do nothing as well as one if you do anything. 
Nov 9, 2012 2:50PM
Well republicans say they want to be fiscal ? Well they can start by NOT raising the debt limit ! 16 trillion was good enough for 2012 ! Should be enough for 2013!!!! SCREW WALL STREET and anything they have to say or downgrade !!!! WHY??? Because we are not borrowing anymore money they should be happy  right ???? < So why would they downgrade the USA ?? Because they will not make no money unless the debt limit is raised thats why ! That means the FEDs cannot print any more money for all their QE 1 QE2 and their QE3 that does nothing for your average American !! It puts the breaks on all this free money on wall street at athe fed window... Thats all ! So America don't be fooled by the media saying its bad not to raise the debt limit! We truly will not run out of money at 16 TRILLION...Thats why they call it a limit.
Nov 9, 2012 2:40PM

Help! I think I see a cliff looming in the near distance!

Nov 9, 2012 3:01PM
Big O, now going on an oversea trip. Must be looking for the cliff.
Nov 9, 2012 2:50PM

No politician of either party should be allowed to give a speech on a day when the markets are up.

Nov 9, 2012 4:17PM
For what its worth I think everyone should pay some tax even if its  a dollar.  Getting to be too many people paying nothing.
Nov 9, 2012 2:51PM
Sorros told him what to say - his short was near term and he needed a few more dollars down... ...
Nov 9, 2012 2:58PM
Hey - just let the rates go back to the Clinton rates. It was good then - Right??

We may just need to reboot anyway.
Nov 9, 2012 2:48PM
Be a little easy on the dolt, he was sobbing yesterday. Don't you just hate to see a child cry?
Nov 9, 2012 3:10PM
Ok people rethought things a little. Maybe we should go over the fiscal cliff. Sometimes you got to fall in order to get change. John boehner should stick to his guns. If we go over the cliff yes It will hurt but look at this way your taxes will go up but then you may be able to get food stamps  and join the rest of the bums that voted obama back in office. Sad thought but even  if everthing falls apart  maybe we  can rebuilt our value as A stong nation. Sometimes to get a better house to live in you got tare down the old one. I would rather die standing for something rather than fall for anything. I feel There is a lot of lazy people in this country  who want nother more than to watch you work and then live off what you pay in taxes. Nothing more than bums. So come on John boehner hold your ground. Go down fighting thats what thats what makes this country great.
Nov 9, 2012 2:52PM

Despite what many think, we don't need wall street; they need us. Also they have forgotten that they are not our bosses, we are theirs; for in the end, it is the people who allow them and the corporations that make up wall street to do business. And they have disrespected us by shipping jobs to communist china, manipulating commodity prices higher, and pulling every other dastardly stunt in the book, all for short term financial gain.

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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages posted solid gains ahead of tomorrow's policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 rallied 0.8%, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) could not keep pace with the benchmark index.

Equity indices hovered near their flat lines during the first two hours of action, but surged in reaction to reports from the Wall Street Journal concerning tomorrow's FOMC statement. Specifically, Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath indicated that the statement ... More


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