Stocks close lower after weak retail reports
Stock indexes closed lower Thursday, a third straight decline, as retailers issued weak forecasts for earnings and more people filed claims for unemployment benefits.
The Dow Jones industrial average wavered between small gains and losses shortly after the opening bell, then moved lower at mid-morning. It closed down 28.57 points at 12,542.38.
The Dow has lost 703 points, or 5 percent, from Election Day, Nov. 6, when it closed at 13,245.68.
Wal-Mart, Ross Stores and Limited Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret, all fell after issuing forecasts that disappointed financial analysts. Wal-Mart fell $2.59, or 3.6 percent, to $68.72.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 2.16 points to 1,353.33; the Nasdaq composite finished 9.87 points lower at 2,836.94.
Stocks have fallen steadily since voters returned President Obama and a divided Congress to power. Investors are worried that U.S. leaders might not reach a deal before tax increases and government spending cuts take effect Jan. 1. The impact would total $700 billion for 2013 and could send the country back into recession.
Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group in Philadelphia, said the bargaining in Washington would likely drag on until next year, weighing on stocks. “It's hard to see the market getting a whole ton of traction until that gets settled.”
President Obama will meet with congressional leaders on Friday to talk about the budget, but he appeared to suggest on Thursday that he would insist on an increase in tax rates for the wealthy.
T. Dale, a portfolio manager at Security Ballew Wealth Management in Jackson, Miss., said stocks are more likely to fall than rise, partly because of slowing global economic growth and the budget impasse.
“The market has gotten well ahead of itself,” Dale said.
Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to 439,000 last week, the Labor Department reported. Applications for benefits rose 78,000, mostly because a large number were filed in storm-damaged states.
The European Union's statistics agency confirmed that the euro zone, the group of 17 countries that use the euro currency, is in recession. The economy in the region shrank 0.1 percent in the third quarter from the previous three-month period.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Economy police release sketch of woman whose embalmed head was found in wooded area
- Gasoline prices keep falling in Western Pa.
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Steelers’ Beachum, Williams hurting but could play vs. Bengals
- North Korea experiencing severe Internet outages
- WPIAL players named to Class AAA, A all-state teams
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- North Side drug den can be demolished, judge says
- Marcellus driller Vantage Energy to pay nearly $1M for Greene County well problems
- Penguins’ Sutter, Downie, Greiss being tested for mumps, out tonight