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22.03.2012 17:39

U.S. stocks retreated

 

U.S. stocks retreated, trimming the longest monthly rally since September 2009 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as manufacturing contracted in China and Europe and FedEx Corp. tumbled amid a disappointing forecast.

Equities joined a global slump today as a Chinese manufacturing index indicated a worse contraction this month. Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted more than economists forecast. Stocks fell even after data showed that jobless claims dropped to the lowest level in four years, reinforcing signs the U.S. labor market is picking up.

The company is responding to a drop in express shipments and “below-trend” growth by parking an unspecified number of planes in the desert, reducing flight hours and reviewing domestic capacity. The range of goods delivered by FedEx and United Parcel Service Inc. makes them economic barometers.

Dow 13,059.35     -65.27 -0.50%, Nasdaq       3,066.27       -9.05   -0.29%, S&P 500    1,394.01       -8.88         -0.63%

FedEx slumped 4.5 percent to $91.56. It forecast a profit range for its current fiscal quarter whose low end trailed analysts’ estimates amid slowing express-shipment demand.

Energy and raw material shares retreated as the S&P GSCI gauge of commodities declined amid concern about slower demand. Alcoa (АА) retreated 2.5 percent to $10.01. Chevron (CVX) slumped 2.3 percent to $105.48. Consol Energy Inc. tumbled 5.7 percent to $32.50 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. Industrial companies also declined as Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) dropped 2.7 percent, the most in the Dow, to $106.06.

Discover Financial Services added 4.2 percent to $32.97. The payments network company said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 36 percent to a record as consumers spent more on credit cards.

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