U.S. stocks began another down session Thursday, with better-than-expected weekly data on U.S. jobless claims failing to offset worries about the global growth. The report from the Labor Department is "certainly good news and again confirms the muddle-through scenario, the slow-growth scenario for the United States," said Jim Russell, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98 points to 12,506. The S&P 500 index declined 12 points to 1,328. The Nasdaq Composite shed 36 points to 2,851. First the good news. In the healthcare space, Merck is higher by 4% on positive phase 3 results for osteoporosis. Pfizer and Bristol Myers are also trading higher. P&G also looks good in the healthcare space trading up 3% on news a popular hedge fund manager has initiated a stake. And that's about it for the good news today. Supermarket retailer, Supervalu is down 44% after reducing guidance and suspending their dividend. All the grocery stocks are trading lower. Mariott International is down 5% on disappointing earnings last night. Golf retailer, Callaway is down 4% after announcing job layoffs. Lowes is down 2% after one analyst cut estimates. Family Dollar is down 3% on a downgrade. FedEx was upgraded, but the stock is lower. In the tech space Apple, Google, and IBM are getting hit. One analyst made cautious comments on Google's quarterly growth prospects. Lexmark is down 7% on a downgrade. Intel is down 2% on cautious comments. EMC, Nvidia, and KLA Tencor were upgraded, but all three are lower. SAP is bucking the trend as the company upped consensus. The weakest sectors remain industrials, materials, and energy. Chevron is bucking the trend up a percent after raising guidance. Through the morning the averages pushed a little lower before bouncing back into the lunch hour, but the economic news and corporate news is only getting worse. In the afternoon the averages slowly improved with the Dow actually moving into the green thanks to Merck, PG, and McDonalds. The Nasdaq remained stuck in the red due on part to weakness in Apple and other large cap techs. In the last hour the rebound fizzled into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 31 points to close at 12,573. The S&P 500 fell 6 points to 1,334. The Nasdaq Composite slid 21 points to 2,866. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 extended their fall into a sixth day, while the Nasdaq dropped for a fifth session.
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