U.S. Stocks Drop

U.S. stocks fell, halting a two-day advance, after companies from FedEx Corp. to Danaher Corp. forecast earnings that disappointed investors as the deepening recession crimps sales.

FedEx, the second-biggest U.S. package-shipping company, lost 12 percent after projecting profit below analysts’ estimates amid a significantly weaker” economy. Danaher, maker of Craftsman tools, slid 5.1 percent. All 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated a day after the benchmark gauge of U.S. equities extended its gain from an 11-year low last month to 21 percent.

The S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent to 898.63 at 9:55 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 143.13 points, or 1.6 percent, to 8,791.05 and Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.8 percent to 1,558.51. More than two stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks in Europe increased for a second day as optimism that stimulus plans will boost the economy lifted retailers and automakers, while investor confidence in Germany improved.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.7 percent to 204.06 at 2:46 p.m. in London as 16 of 19 industry groups advanced. The measure has rebounded 9.4 percent since this year’s low on Nov. 20 as governments from the U.S. to India announced stimulus plans to buoy the global economy and prevent earnings from tumbling.

National benchmark indexes increased in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 1.4 percent and France’s CAC climbed 1.3 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.7 percent.

Japan stocks rose on speculation global stimulus plans will increase demand for commodities, overshadowing a greater-than-estimated slump in Japan’s economy. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 66.82, or 0.8 percent, to close at 8,395.87 in Tokyo, paring an early gain of 2.1 percent.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 27.30 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,604.30 at the close in Sydney, after climbing earlier as much as 0.7 percent.

China’s stocks fell, snapping a six- day winning streak, as China Vanke Co.’s property sales tumbled and a central bank adviser said the nation’s exports contracted. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China’s two exchanges, declined 54.19, or 2.6 percent, to 2,040.85 at the close, snapping a six-day, 15 percent rally.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
12/9/2008 7:03:00 AM