Most U.S. Stocks Drop

Most U.S. stocks fell, paring gains in the market’s first weekly advance since October, as concern the recession will erode demand for energy and metals dragged down commodity producers.

Hess Corp., the fifth-biggest U.S. oil producer, tumbled 6.2 percent as crude slid below $53 a barrel. Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, lost as much as 1.8 percent after European rival STMicroelectronics NV cut its sales forecast. Target Corp. slid 4.6 percent as retailers discounted merchandise by as much as 70 percent to counter what is forecast to be the weakest holiday season in six years.

Almost three stocks dropped for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 slipped 0.4 percent to 883.75 at 11:23 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.19 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 8,725.42, while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.2 percent to 1,514.43.

U.S. exchanges were shut yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will close at 1 p.m. today.

This week’s rally in U.S. stocks helped push the MSCI World Index of 23 developed markets up 11 percent since Nov. 21, the steepest weekly advance since data began in 1970.

The Stoxx 600 added 0.4 percent to 204.39 at 4:15 p.m. in London, extending the rebound from a five-year low on Nov. 21 to 12 percent. Raw-materials producers, banks and insurers led this week’s gains on speculation government stimulus packages in Europe and the U.S. will cushion economies from the financial crisis.

National benchmark indexes rose in five out of 18 western European markets today. The FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent. Germany’s DAX dropped 0.4 percent as Infineon Technologies AG declined. France’s CAC 40 decreased 0.3 percent, led lower by STMicroelectronics.,
11/28/2008 8:39:51 AM