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U.S. stocks declined, sending the benchmark gauges lower for a third straight day, after Standard & Poor’s said Greece may have to restructure its debt again.
American equities joined a global slump as S&P said Greece may have to restructure again. In the U.S., initial jobless claims fell 5,000 in the week ended March 24 to 359,000, the lowest since 2008. The median forecast of economists called for 350,000 claims. The economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate in the last three months of 2011, the same as previously estimated, a separate government report showed.
Dow 13,067.86 -58.35 -0.44%, Nasdaq 3,076.58 -28.38 -0.91%, S&P 500 1,394.37 -11.17 -0.79%
Bank of America (ВАС) lost 3.1 percent to $9.45. Citigroup slid 2.9 percent to $35.98.
Best Buy tumbled 9.4 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $24.11. Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn trimmed discounts after the holiday shopping season, sacrificing sales to maintain profitability. The retailer is closing big-box stores and cutting jobs to reduce costs while boosting online sales and opening smaller locations.
Some of the largest companies fell after analyst downgrades. American Express (AXP), the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, dropped 2.8 percent to $57.43 after Wells Fargo & Co. cut the stock to the equivalent of neutral.
Big Lots Inc. sank 6.7 percent, the most since December, to $42.53. The discount retailer’s sales trends are “not as good as we’d hoped,” Charles Grom, an analyst with Deutsche Bank AG, wrote in a note after meeting with the company’s management including Chief Executive Officer Steven Fishman.
Red Hat surged 15 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to a 12-year high of $59.01. The company was surprised by demand for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux software from corporations preparing to move more applications to the so-called cloud, where they can be delivered to users over the Internet, Chief Executive Officer Jim Whitehurst said in an interview. Profit for the current fiscal year will be as much as $1.20 a share, the company projected, exceeding estimates.
Illumina Inc. climbed 4.4 percent to $52.09. Roche Holding AG raised its hostile takeover offer for Illumina by 15 percent to about $6.7 billion, yielding to demands for a higher price from shareholders of the U.S. maker of gene-mapping tools.
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