U.S. Stocks Drop

U.S. stocks fell for a second day after employers cut jobs at the fastest pace in 34 years last month, spurring concern that the deepening recession will prolong a 15-month slump in corporate profits.

Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. slid at least 2.8 percent to lead declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the Labor Department said the nation lost 533,000 jobs last month, 59 percent more than the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. General Motors Corp. added 2.9 percent after Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner told lawmakers he’d accept strict conditions for a government loan to avoid bankruptcy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.9 percent to 837.25 at 9:34 a.m. in New York, poised for its fourth weekly decline since October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9 percent to 8,302.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1 percent to 1,431.7. About five stocks retreated for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

European stocks tumbled for a third day this week after employers in the U.S. cut jobs last month at the fastest pace in 34 years, signaling the world’s largest economy is slipping deeper into recession.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 2.8 percent to 191.90 at 2:47 p.m. in London, with all 19 industry groups decreasing except for health care. The measure is down 7 percent this week, wiping off more than half of last week’s record advance, as reports signaled the global economy is deteriorating and U.S. unemployment reached the highest level since 1993.

National benchmarks fell in all 18 western European markets except Iceland and Ireland. The FTSE 100 lost 1.6 percent, as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Antofagasta Plc retreated. France’s CAC 40 declined 4 percent, while Germany’s DAX decreased 3.4 percent.

Japan stocks fell, extending a weekly loss, as a dimmer earnings outlook for lenders prompted Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to cut price targets on the nation’s biggest banks, overshadowing benefits to manufacturers from oil’s decline. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average swung between gains and losses at least 13 times, and closed down 6.73, or 0.1 percent, to 7,917.51 in Tokyo.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 42.50 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,489.90 at the close of trading in Sydney, taking its weekly loss to 6.8 percent.

China's stock benchmark rose for a fifth day, its longest winning streak this year, on speculation lower energy costs will spur consumer spending and cut corporate overheads as the government adds measures to bolster the economy. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, gained 30.25, or 1.5 percent, to 2,013.18 at the close, for a 10 percent weekly gain

India's benchmark stock index fell, led by software exporters, after a newspaper reported Infosys Technologies Ltd. will freeze hiring in the next fiscal year. ndia's benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 264.55, or 2.9 percent, to 8,965.20.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
12/5/2008 7:07:39 AM