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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. stocks slid early Friday as anxious investors reacted to reports suggesting that Standard and Poor’s may downgrade several eurozone countries later in the day.

JPMorgan Chase’s disappointing fourth-quarter earnings also weighed on the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 99 points, or 0.8%, the SP 500 (SPX) fell 10 points, or 0.8%, and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 14 points, or 0.5%.

While solid demand at recent debt auctions in Italy and Spain have calmed some investors, a Reuters report suggesting thatSP could downgrade several eurozone countries at some point Friday sparked a fresh bout of worries.

Last month, the rating agency put 15 members of the euro currency union, including top-rated Germany and France, on review for a rating cut. The Reuters report, citing a “senior eurozone source,” said Germany would not be among the downgraded countries.

SP did not comment on the report.

Europe on downgrade watch

Meanwhile, investors were also on edge after lackluster earnings from JPMorgan Chase, the first of the big Wall Street banks to deliver fourth-quarter results.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) shares fell 3%, after the bank announced it earned 90 cents per share in the fourth quarter, down from $1.12 a year earlier.

In a statement, CEO Jamie Dimon called the results “disappointing,” but said JPMorgan sees “see signs of improvement in loan demand and credit quality” going forward.

Investors will be tuning into a slew of bank earnings next week. Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) are scheduled to report their earnings on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) reports on Wednesday, and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) weigh in on Thursday.

Stocks managed to close slightly higher Thursday, despite a choppy day of trading.

Lure to leave the euro may prove irresistible

World markets: European stocks turned lower in afternoon trading, amid downgrade concerns. Britain’s FTSE 100 (UKX) fell 0.8%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany dropped 0.8% and France’s CAC 40 (CAC40) slipped 0.2%.

Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) lost 1.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei (N225) gained 1.4% and the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong added 0.6%.

Companies: Novartis (NVS) shares fell after the pharmaceutical company announced it is restructuring its U.S. business — a move that will result in 1,960 job cuts.

The company said the restructuring will lead to a charge of $160 million in the first quarter of 2012, and an annual savings of approximately $450 million by 2013.

Economy: The government said the nation’s trade gap widened in November to $47.75 billion. Analysts surveyed by expected the deficit to stand at $44 billion.

December import prices slid 0.1%, while export prices were down 0.5%.

Later Friday, the University of Michigan will release its Consumer Sentiment Index for the month of January, which is expected to have improved to 71.2 from 69.9 in December.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar gained strength against the euro, British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for February delivery fell 75 cents to $98.35 a barrel.

Gold futures for February delivery fell $7.70 to $1,640 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.88% from 1.93% late Thursday.  To top of page

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