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U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward the worst weekly decline in 2012, as consumer confidence dropped, China’s growth slowed and the cost of insuring against a Spanish default rose to a record.
Equities slumped as confidence among U.S. consumers cooled in April from a one-year high. China said gross domestic product rose 8.1 percent in the first quarter, less than the 8.4 percent growth predicted. Credit-default swaps on Spain surged to an all-time high, signaling a deterioration in investor perceptions of credit quality.
Dow 12,916.04 -70.54 -0.54%, Nasdaq 3,021.98 -33.57 -1.10%, S&P 500 1,376.96 -10.61 -0.76%
Concern about the global financial system helped drive bank shares lower even after JPMorgan and Wells Fargo & Co. reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. JPMorgan (JPM) lost 2.1 percent to $43.92, while Wells Fargo dropped 2 percent to $33.33.
Bank of America (ВАС) dropped 3.5 percent to $8.85. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) slid 2.2 percent to $24.55. GE declined 1.6 percent to $19.
Google fell 3.1 percent to $630.75 after its latest bid to preserve control for founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin raised concern among corporate-governance watchdogs. Google unveiled a plan that lets the company issue new shares without diluting the founders’ voting power. The stock change would create a new class of nonvoting shares that will be distributed to existing shareholders in what is effectively a 2-for-1 stock split.
Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) advanced 2.3 percent to $33.42. The largest U.S. chemicals producer increased its quarterly dividend to 32 cents a share from 25 cents.
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