Friday, May 15, 2009

Wall Street Retreats In Choppy Trading, GM Tumbles

. Friday, May 15, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stocks declined on Friday as a selloff in financial and energy stocks dampened investor sentiment.The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 62.68 points or 0.75% to finish at 8,268.64. The S&P 500 shed 10.19 points or 1.14% to end at 882.88. The Nasdaq Composite shed 9.07 points or 1.14% to 1,680.14.

Shares of financials extended losses. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) plunged 64 cents or 5.66% to $10.67.Citigroup (NYSE: C) tumbled 7 cents or 1.97% to $3.48. J.P Morgan (NYSE: JPM) lost 63 cents or 1.77% to $34.91. American Express (NYSE: AXP) slumped 49 cents or 1.98% to $24.23. Shares of Wells Fargo & Co.(NYSE: WFC) plummeted 82 cents or 3.19% to $24.87.

Shares of General Motors (NYSE: GM) sank 6 cents or 5.22% to $1.09. The embattled automaker started notifying 1,100 U.S. dealers that their franchise agreements will not be renewed.

Among energy stocks, Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) slid $1.32 or 1.95% to $65.88. Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) finished at $69.11, down 65 cents or 0.93%.

Shares of drugmakers finished lower. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) retreated 33 cents or 2.15% to $15.01. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) slipped 58 cents or 2.23% to $25.47.

On Thursday, The Treasury Department agreed to extend billions in bailout funds to six major life insurers as part of the government's financial rescue program.The companies are Allstate (NYSE: ALL), Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG), Lincoln National Corp. (NYSE: LNC), Principal Financial (NYSE: PFG) and Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU).

On the earnings front, J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) reported that its fiscal first-quarter earnings tumbled 79% to $25 million or $0.11 a share, from $120 million or $0.54 a share in the year ago quarter. Quarterly revenue totaled $3.88 billion, down 6% from $4.13 billion in the prior year quarter.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) said that it swung to a first quarter loss of $27 million, or 31 cents a share, compared to earnings of $62 million, or 69 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue slipped 24% to $612 million. Shares of the company declined $1.15 or 4.22% to $26.10.

Late on Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. (NYSE: JWN) reported that its first-quarter profit fell to $81 million, or 37 cents a share, from $119 million, or 54 cents a share, in the year earlier quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 31 cents a share. Revenue fell 9.2% to $1.71 billion.

On the front of economic data, a release by Department of Labor on Wednesday showed consumer price index remained unchanged in April. The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% in April. Economists had forecast an increase of 0.1% in consumer price index and a flat reading of core consumer price index.

The US Federal Reserve said Friday that industrial production fell by 0.5% in April after revised declines of 1.7% in March. Capacity utilization dropped to 69.1% last month from a revised 69.4 percent in March, the lowest rate since records began in 1967.Economists expected a drop of 0.6% in industrial production in April.

European stocks settled mostly lower. The UK FTSE fell 14.47 points or 0.33% to 4,348.11. The German DAX lost 0.02% while French CAC climbed 0.23% and 0.40%.

Asian stocks finished higher. The Nikkei 225 rose 171.29 points or 1.88% to 9,265.02. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong jumped 249.01 points or 1.51% to 16,790.70.

NYMEX crude oil for May delivery declined $2.19 or 3.7% to settle at $56.43 a barrel.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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