Stocks slide on China, U.S. economic data

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

U.S. stocks fell last week, sending the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index to the lowest level since Jan. 31, after American and Chinese reports dampened optimism about the global economy.

Equities pared their weekly decline Friday as fuel, metal and industrial companies helped the market overcome a global slump that followed Japan's worst earthquake on record. Exxon Mobil lost 3.5 percent since March 4, leading the Dow Jones industrial average lower, as oil fell 3.1 percent. Finisar plunged 46 percent, driving down networking companies such as JDS Uniphase, after its profit forecast trailed analysts' estimates.

The S&P 500 slipped 1.3 percent to 1,304.28 after closing Thursday at an almost six-week low of 1,295.11. It surged 28 percent between Aug. 26 and Feb. 18 before slumping 2.9 percent.

The Dow retreated 125.48 points, or 1 percent, to 12,044.40 after U.S. jobless claims increased more than forecast, the American trade deficit widened and China's export growth slowed.

"We've had a long run of the market going up," said Giri Cherukuri, a portfolio manager and head trader at Oakbrook Investments. "It was more the trade deficit number that affected the market - the idea that the economy is not growing as much - and people are looking for strength in the economy."

The S&P 500 pared its 2011 gain to 3.7 percent last week as the bull market began its third year. The Treasury will sell $62 billion in three-month and $30 billion in six-month bills Monday. They yielded 0.081 percent and 0.137 percent, respectively, in when-issued trading.

- Bloomberg News

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