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The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was poised for its worst monthly drop since September as the world’s largest economy grew less than previously estimated, business activity expanded at a slower pace and jobless claims increased.
Equities slumped after data showed business activity in the U.S. expanded in May at the slowest pace in more than two years. The number of Americans applying for unemployment insurance payments rose last week to a one-month high. Gross domestic product climbed at a 1.9 percent annual rate from January through March, down from a 2.2 percent prior estimate.
Investors also watched the latest developments in Europe’s attempts to tame its crisis. Italy’s prime minister and central bank chief pressed Germany to back more aggressive efforts to snuff out the escalating debt crisis, setting up a south-north showdown over how to stabilize the 17-nation euro economy.
Joy Global tumbled 7 percent to $54.90, driving industrial shares lower. The maker of P&H and Joy mining equipment cut forecasts for full-year earnings and revenue as mining companies ease capital expenditure amid concern over the slowdown in China. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, sank 4 percent to $86.62.
Facebook, which this week fell below $30 for the first time, dropped 3.4 percent to $27.22. The shares dropped for a fourth straight day amid concern that the world’s largest social-networking service will struggle to wring profit from its 901 million users.
Kohl’s Corp. retreated 5.6 percent to $46.10 after the retailer said May same-store sales decreased 4.2 percent. That compares with the average estimate for a 1.1 percent decline.
Talbots climbed 91 percent to $2.47. The women’s clothing retailer trying to reverse falling sales agreed to be bought by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners for a reduced price of $369 million, including debt. Talbots accepted the lower bid after last week saying it had failed to reach an agreement with Sycamore during 2 1/2 weeks of exclusive talks.
Ciena Corp. climbed 7.5 percent to $12.77. The maker of networking equipment rose after second-quarter sales and earnings topped analysts’ estimates. Ciena is capitalizing on demand for speedy fiber-optic networks, which transmit data in the form of light over fiber strands.
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