U.S. Stocks Tumble


U.S. stocks retreated, trimming a third-straight weekly gain, as the heads of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. said results deteriorated in March and lower oil and metal prices dragged down commodity producers.

JPMorgan and Bank of America lost at least 3.2 percent, reducing this month’s rally in financials triggered when the banks said they made money in January and February. Schlumberger Ltd. and Hess Corp. slid more than 4 percent following a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report predicting lower oil prices. Accenture Ltd. tumbled 13 percent, the most since the company went public in 2001, after the technology-consulting firm cut its forecasts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 2 percent to 815.94. The gauge is up 11 percent in March, poised for its best month since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 148.38, or 1.9 percent, to 7,776.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 2.6 percent to 1,545.2.

European stocks fell, ending a six- day rally, after Air France-KLM Group forecast the recession will push it to an annual loss and Royal Philips Electronics NV said sales will decline this year.

Air France, Europe’s biggest airline, slumped 7.8 percent. Cap Gemini SA slid 7.7 percent after rival Accenture Ltd. lowered its forecasts for 2009 profit. Philips fell for a second day after saying demand fell at all of its three divisions. Barclays Plc surged 24 percent after the bank passed stress tests conducted by the U.K.’s financial regulator.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 1.1 percent to 177.17, trimming the advance this week to 2.7 percent. The gauge has gained 2.5 percent in March as banks from Citigroup Inc. to JPMorgan Chase & Co. said they made money in the first two months of 2009 and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled plans to rid financial firms of toxic assets.

National benchmark indexes sank in all of the 18 western European markets except Ireland. France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.8 percent and Germany’s DAX slid 1.3 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE retreated 0.7 percent.

Asian stocks fluctuated, with the region’s benchmark index paring gains that drove valuations to the highest levels since December 2007.

Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s biggest maker of flat screens and mobile phones, rose 2.5 percent in Seoul as U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co. reported profit that topped analysts’ estimates. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, climbed 4 percent in Sydney after metals prices advanced yesterday. Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s biggest power company, lost 2.7 percent amid speculation higher oil prices will raise fuel costs.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.1 percent, paring its increase this week to 8.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.7 percent. All markets advanced except South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

The MSCI World Index was little changed at 841.52, taking its advance in March to 12 percent. Shares have rallied this month as the U.S. and Japan pledged to buy government debt, while banks including Barclays Plc reported strong starts to the year. The U.S. Treasury announced on March 23 plans to rid banks of toxic real-estate assets.

MSCI’s Asian benchmark gauge rose 14 percent in March, the biggest monthly gain since October 1998, when governments were cutting interest rates to alleviate the Asian financial crisis.

 


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
3/27/2009 1:28:45 PM