U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Thursday after the government said claims for unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 last week, illustrating only limited improvement ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 143 points to 11,752. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 17 points to 1,242. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 41 points to 2,651. The earnings keep flooding in, and the reports for the most part are better than expected, but investors are fearful of a big economic slowdown. Apache and Transocean reported solid earnings, yet the stocks are both down over 5%. A recent IPO, Suncoke Energy is down 4% following earnings. Walter Energy is down 23% following earnings. Virtually all the oils and commodity stocks are getting hit. Rowan is down 6% following a downgrade. Parker Drilling is one of the few bright spots, trading up 5% following earnings. Other stocks trading lower following earnings include Tesla Motors, McDermott, Atmel, Zipcar, Goodrich, Cooper Tires, Ares Capital, Dean Foods, GM, El Paso, Southwest Air, CBOE Holdings, Cigna, and Cardinal Health. Every sector is getting hit this morning. Only a handful of stocks are trading higher. After the first hour the Dow was down 200 points. The Nasdaq declined 60 points or 2%. Through the morning the averages remained weak. A few bright spots include Kraft up 3% following strong earnings and the announcement of a split up of the company to unlock more shareholder value. McDonalds also trading in the green for a while before selling back off. At 11:30, the averages pushed lower as the European markets closed. The Dow fell nearly 300 points while the Nasdaq dropped 75 points. There seems to be a lot of capitulation out there. Gold, the one trade that has worked the last several weeks has reversed course. None nothing is working. Hopefully, we are getting closer to a short term bottom.
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