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U.S. stocks fall on weak data, commodities plunge

05-06-2011 09:03 BJT

NEW YORK, May 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks fell on Thursday on weak economic data and commodities prices plunge.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 139.41 points, or 1.10 percent, to 12,584.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 12.22 points, or 0.91 percent, to 1,335.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 13.51 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,814.72.

All major sectors fell, led by energy and materials.

Adding to the disappointing private sector job data reported by ADP on Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that jobless claims unexpectedly jumped by 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the most since August, dampening the market sentiment. This report came in one day before the nonfarm payroll report for April, making people pessimistic in U.S. job markets.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its services index fell to 52.8 last month, the slowest pace in eight months, much lower than 57.3 in March, also well below economists' forecasts of 57.4.

Weak economic data pressured the equity markets and triggered commodities sell-off.

Commodities experienced broad sell-off on Thursday. Crude prices plummeted, with New York benchmark plunging 9.17 dollars, or 8.39 percent to settle at 99.80 dollars a barrel, breaking below 100 dollars for the first time since early March. In London, Brent crude sharply fell 10.39 dollars, or 8.57 percent to settle at 110.80 dollars a barrel as investors chose to take profits and to exit crude markets amid a rising dollar, signs of less demand and news of supply increase.

And silver continued to tumble, dropping another 8 percent to 36.23 dollars an ounce, while gold fell more than 2 percent to 1, 480.90 dollars an ounce.

Energy giants Exxon Mobil dropped 2.58 percent and Chevron slipped 1.97 percent. Material companies like Alcoa Inc. lost 2. 63 percent and BHP Billiton fell 2.83 percent.

In earnings news, General Motors said it earned 3.2 billion dollars, or 1.77 dollars per share, in the first quarter, beating expectations thanks to the gains in credited sales in North America and Asia. But its share dropped 3.09 percent.

CVS Caremark gained 1.85 percent after reporting a higher-than- expected profit for the quarter, driven by pharmacy services sales. Whole Foods Market rose 0.35 percent after the upscale grocery store chain beat expectations and raised its full-year profit forecast.


Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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