Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wall Street Ends Lower On Economic Worries, General Electric (NYSE: GE) Drops

US stocks finished lower on Thursday as investors turned cautious after a surprise rise in jobless claims .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 139.41 points, or 1.10%, to finish at 12,584.17. The S&P 500 shed 12.22 points, or 0.91%, to close at 1,335.10. The Nasdaq Composite declined 13.51 points, or 0.48%, to 2,814.72.

A release by Department of Labor on Thursday showed that number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment benefits rose 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ending April 30. Economists expected jobless claims to drop to 412,000. The four-week average of seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims, a less volatile gauge, increased 22,250 to 431,250. Continuing claims for the week ending April 23 rose 74,000 to 3.73 million.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) said Thursday that its first-quarter profit surged to $3.2 billion, or $1.77 a share, from $865 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. The latest results included special items that increased earnings by 82 cents a share. Revenue climbed to $36.2 billion from $31.5 billion. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of 91 cents per share on revenue of $35.59 billion. GM shares slumped $1.02, or 3.09%, to $32.02.

Shares of General Electric (NYSE: GE) slumped 37 cents, or 1.83%, to close at $19.90.   

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England both left their key interest rates unchanged, as was widely expected.

European stocks closed mixed. The UK FTSE fell 64.09 points, or 1.07% to 5,919.98. The German DAX rose 0.04% while French CAC decreased 0.95%.

Asian stocks finished lower. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong declined 53.63 points, or 0.23%, to 23,261.61.

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