U.S. stocks fell sharply at Thursday's start following more weak economic data and a surprise earnings miss at Microsoft. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 133 points to 8,095. The S&P 500 declined 15 points to 824, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 42 points to stand at 1,464. Not many stocks are trading higher. Microsoft is down 6%, rival Intel is cutting jobs. Sony expects a full year loss. Nokia and Ebay both missed estimates. The one tech that looks good today is Apple up 5% after easily beating estimates last night. The financials are mixed today. The financials trading lower on earnings include CIT Group, Huntington Bancshares, Janus, BB&T, SunTrust, and Fifth Third. M&T Bank and KeyCorp are actually higher following earnings. JP Morgan is up 2% as CEO Jamie Dimon bought $11 million worth of stock. Bank of America CEO bought a million dollars worth of his stock, but it isn't helping. A few stocks are trading higher on earnings including Lockheed Martin, Southwest Airlines, Unitedhealth Group, and Potash. After the first half an hour the averages remained weak near the lows of the day. Through the morning, the averages only got weaker. The financials are weak. It looks like John Thain is out at Merrill Lynch / Bank of America. The insurance stocks are getting clobbered once again. Metlife and Hartford are both down 11%. Aflac is down 35% on a downgrade and concerns regarding some of their investment products. Entering the lunch hour, the Dow was down 270 points. The Nasdaq declined 62 points. Very few stocks are in the green. In the afternoon the averages remained weak. Two financials, Goldman and Morgan Stanley rebounded moving into the green. In the middle of the afternoon, the averages started to slowly improve, gaining momentum. But that rally quickly fizzled in the last hour. Here we go again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 105 points to 8,122. The S&P 500 declined 12 points to 827. The Nasdaq Composite stumbled 41 points to 1,465.
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