U.S. Stocks Retreat


U.S. stocks fell for the first time in five days as a rally in financial companies was snuffed out by concern over rising credit-card defaults and SanDisk Corp. led a slump in technology shares.

American Express Co. dropped 3.3 percent, erasing an advance of as much as 8.1 percent, after reporting higher delinquency rates for February. SanDisk, the biggest maker of flash memory cards, tumbled 11 percent as Bank of America Corp. advised selling the shares. An early rally in stocks came after the Group of 20 vowed to clean up toxic assets, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the recession may end this year and U.K. bank Barclays Plc reported a strong” start to 2009.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.4 percent to 753.89, erasing a gain of as much as 2.4 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 7.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,216.97. The S&P 500 had jumped 12 percent in the previous four days on speculation the worst of the credit crisis was over.

The S&P 500 has declined 17 percent in 2009, rising in only two of 10 weeks this year, as mounting losses at banks raised concern the government would be forced to nationalize some lenders. The index lost 38 percent in 2008, its worst year since the Great Depression.

Financial shares in the S&P 500 climbed as much as 5.8 percent earlier before heading lower in the final 90 minutes of trading.

Government data showed U.S. industrial production slumped more than forecast. A slide in exports and a steep decline in demand for goods from airplanes to computers hurt the broader U.S. economy, reducing output at factories, mines and utilities. Industrial production fell 1.4 percent in February, the fourth consecutive month of losses, the Federal Reserve.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
3/16/2009 1:35:37 PM