December 13, 2017

Wall Street Shares Slide

Stocks slid on Wall Street on Thursday, as data continued to show a slowly improving economy.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index declined 0.8 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite index fell 1.3 percent in afternoon trading. European markets ended down about 2 percent.

In one economic report released Thursday, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, above expectations for 355,000.

In another report, the government said consumer prices were flat for a second straight month in January, providing scope for the Federal Reserve to maintain its very accommodative monetary policy stance as it tries to stimulate the sluggish economy. Excluding food and energy, consumer prices rose 0.3 percent, the largest gain since May 2011.

The S.P. 500 index dropped 1.2 percent on Wednesday, its biggest decline since Nov. 14, after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting suggested the central bank may slow or stop buying bonds sooner than expected.

With the benchmark S.P. index still up 6 percent for the year, many analysts considered the Fed minutes as a trigger for an overdue pullback in equities, as would be the upcoming sequestration in Washington. The sequestration — automatic across-the-board spending cuts put in place as part of a larger congressional budget fight — is due to begin March 1 unless lawmakers agree on an alternative.

“It’s the sequester, it’s the knee-jerk reaction to yesterday’s Fed minutes and it’s the realization the consumer is slowing,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York. “I’d love to see a healthy 5 percent correction. Let’s wash out some of the weak hands and set up for a better move during the year.”

Wal-Mart rose 2.2 percent after the world’s largest retailer reported a larger-than-expected rise in quarterly profit and raised its dividend. Investors weighed the news of better profit against persisting weakness in sales in the United States.

VeriFone Systems tumbled 41 percent after the credit card swipe-machine maker forecast first- and second-quarter profit that were well below analysts’ expectations.

Berry Petroleum jumped 17 percent after the oil and gas producer Linn Energy said it would buy the company in an all-stock deal valued at $4.3 billion including debt.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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