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04.04.2012 17:16

U.S. stocks fell

 

U.S. stocks fell, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index headed for this year’s second-worst decline, as the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus.

Stocks extended losses today after a report showed service industries in the U.S. expanded less than forecast in March as orders grew at the slowest pace in three months. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index dropped to 56 from a one-year high of 57.3 in February. Readings above 50 signal expansion, and economists projected 56.8 for the gauge, according to the median estimate.

Employment increased by 209,000 for the month after a revised 230,000 gain in February, figures from ADP Employer Services showed today.

Dow 13,039.82     -159.73        -1.21%, Nasdaq       3,056.51       -57.06 -1.83%, S&P 500    1,395.68         -17.70 -1.25%

Financial shares fell the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500, dropping 1.9 percent. Bank of America (ВАС) slumped 3.2 percent to $9.19 while JPMorgan Chase (JPM) declined 3 percent to $44.07.

SanDisk sank 9.3 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $45.40 after predicting revenue in the quarter that ended April 1 of about $1.2 billion. That compared with an earlier forecast for sales of $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion. Gross margin, a measure of profitability, will be less than the company’s previous prediction of 39 percent to 42 percent, SanDisk said.

GE, the maker of jet engines, power generation equipment, health-care imaging equipment and locomotives, fell 1.4 percent to $19.68. Moody’s lowered its rating on the company one level to Aa3 and its rank on GE Capital Corp. two steps to A1 because of “heightened risk” from its finance unit. Moody’s previously assigned ratings of Aa2 to both entities.

Chevron Corp. (CVX), the second-biggest U.S. oil producer, slipped 1.7 percent to $105.28, while Transocean Ltd., the biggest operator of offshore drilling rigs, dropped 2.8 percent to $52.16. A Brazilian federal prosecutor sued the two companies for 20 billion reais ($11 billion) over a second oil spill at the Frade field off the nation’s coast. Prosecutors filed a 20 billion-reai lawsuit last year following the first spill at project -- a 3,000-barrel leak in November

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