U.S. stocks opened near flat Thursday after Spain sold more debt than anticipated and weekly claims for jobless benefits illustrating the tepid U.S. labor market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13 points to 12,837. The S&P 500 index fell nearly a point to 1,354. The Nasdaq Composite fell 6 points to 2,924. The markets are holding up even as the economic news continues to decline. PG preannounced yesterday. Today we have Phillip Morris down a percent after lowering guidance. On the earnings front, Bed Bath & Beyond is getting hit down 15%. The retailers in general are lower. Under Armour is lower by 6% on a downgrade. Best Buy upped their dividend by a penny, but the stock is lower by 2%. ConAgra is up by 3% on earnings while TJX is higher on an upgrade. PVH is bouncing after reaffirming earnings. The stock is in a correction down 15% in the last two months. In the tech space Red Hat is down 5% on disappointing earnings. The big caps like Intel, IBM, and Google are under a little pressure. Seagate is down 3% on cautious analyst comments. Only Apple is holding in the green. The financials are holding firm. JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and US Bancorp are modestly higher. The defensive sectors like utilities and healthcare are performing well. Merck made a new 52 week high while many of the others are within a percent of their highs. The sector is waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. The consumer staples are performing well except for Philip Morris. At 10 o'clock weaker than expected manufacturing data hit the averages with the Dow falling 40 points while the Nasdaq dropped 20 points. After the first hour the averages slowly recovered. A resilient market even as the economic numbers move lower. Oil below $80 a barrel is a good indication that global growth has slowed. By late morning Goldman Sachs put out a report telling clients to short the S&P 500. Once this news disseminated, the broader market sold off. During the lunch hour the Dow fell 100 points with the Nasdaq declining 25 points. In the afternoon the averages kept drifting lower with the Dow declining 200 points and the Nasdaq dropping 60 points or 2%. Oil fell $3 back below $80 a barrel for the first time since last fall. Gold dropped $50. Thanks Goldman. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 250 points, or 2%, to 12,573. The S&P 500 lost 30 points, or 2.2%, to 1,325. The Nasdaq Composite retreated 71 points, or 2.4%, to 2,859.
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