U.S. Stocks Gyrate

U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses as General Motors Corp. dropped on concern it may file for bankruptcy and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pushed retailers higher after reporting more-than-estimated sales.

GM fell 4.1 percent after a person familiar with the matter said the largest U.S. automaker is exploring a reorganization with workers, creditors and lenders. Wal-Mart sent retailers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a 5.1 percent rally after discounts spurred sales. D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder, rose 16 percent after mortgage rates decreased.

The S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent to 869.17 at 11:34 a.m. in New York after gaining 0.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,570.98. Stock futures dropped earlier after the Labor Department said more Americans are collecting jobless benefits than at any time since 1982.

European stocks gyrated between gains and losses as concerns that more companies will reduce earnings forecasts offset interest-rate cuts to revive economic growth.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index dropped 0.1 percent to 198.06 at 3:54 p.m. in London, recouping earlier losses of as much as 1.7 percent. The Stoxx 600 climbed from its lows of the day after ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said it may be possible for the central bank to purchase financial assets to boost growth.

National benchmarks advanced in 14 of the 18 western European markets. The FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent, and France’s CAC 40 added 0.3 percent. Germany’s DAX increased 0.5 percent.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/4/2008 8:56:59 AM