Stocks finish down again on weak data

Sunday, August 22, 2010

U.S. stocks fell for a second straight week as a jump in jobless claims and an unexpected slump in manufacturing in the Philadelphia area suggested that a rebound in corporate profit growth won't be sustained.

3M, United Technologies and Chevron lost at least 3 percent to lead the Dow Jones industrial average to a one-month low. Sears Holdings sank 7.5 percent as sales trailed analysts' estimates. On Thursday, benchmark indexes erased three days of gains as initial jobless claims rose to their highest level since November and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's factory gauge dropped to the lowest in a year.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 0.7 percent last week, to 1071.69, leaving it down 3.9 percent for the year. Energy shares in the index retreated 2.3 percent, the most among 10 industry groups, as U.S. petroleum stockpiles grew to the highest level in at least 20 years. The Dow average dropped 89.53 points, or 0.9 percent, to 10,213.62.

"The economy is really slowing down," said Wayne F. Wilbanks, who oversees $1.6 billion as chief investment officer of Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management in Norfolk. "Balancing the government's budget is going to mean cutting government spending, which will have a significant impact on the economy and corporate profits."

The two-year Treasury yield dropped

0.04 percentage points, to 0.49 percent,

and touched a record low of 0.4547. The Treasury will auction $30 billion of three-month bills and $30 billion of six-month bills Monday. They yielded 0.15 percent and 0.18 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading.

-- Bloomberg News

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