Bank stocks and tech stocks fell Thursday after downbeat economic reports in the US and Europe hurt investor sentiment.
In economic news, initial jobless claims jumped 20,000 to 362,000. The four-week average moved up by 8,000 to 360,750. The consumer price index rose 1.6% in January, while gasoline fell 3.0% in comparison to a drop of 1.9% in December. Existing home sales were down 1.0% in December after a 4.8% rise in November.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 57 points to 13869.78 and the S&P 500 (^INX) fell 0.53% to 1503.96. The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined 0.64% to 3144.02.
Bank of America (BAC) fell 2.20% after it provided $19 billion in mortgage debt writedowns and another $2.2. billion in loan forgiveness modifications.
Wal-Mart (WMT) shares moved up 0.03% to $71.31 after it posted a profit of $5.61 billion or $1.67 per share from $5.16 billion or $1.40 per share a year ago. Revenue increased 3.9% to $127 billion. Wal-Mart also posted a forecast for fiscal 2014 earnings between $5.20 and $5.40 per share compared to analyst estimates of $5.37.
Boeing (BA) edged up 0.67% to $75.28 after it announced it is beginning to formulate a plan to fix its 787 Dreamliners.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup (NYSE:C) Chairman Michael O'Neill said he is no longer interested in breaking up the bank. Its stock moved down 1.48% to $42.58.
Chesapeake Energy (CHK) posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $300 million or $0.39 per share, down from $472 million or $0.63 per share a year ago. Revenue increased 30% to $3.5 billion. Shares moved up 0.59% to $20.37.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) took a dive to $35.19, down 8.74% after reporting a loss of $0.65 in the fourth quarter, missing analyst expectations of a $0.59 loss.
VeriFone Systems (PAY) was downgraded to neutral by JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Piper Jaffray after the company released a gloomy earnings outlook for the fiscal first quarter. Its shares fell an incredible 37.94% to $19.79.
Heinz (HNZ) edged up 0.10% to $72.21 after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a probe into a "highly suspicious" options trade.
Facebook (FB) fell 2.98% to $27.61 after recent stock downgrades from Jefferies Group, Citigroup, BMO Capital, and others.
Google (GOOG) edged up 0.74% to $798.34 after the stock broke the $800 mark Tuesday. Google recently announced plans to open retail stores in the US. Analysts for Sanford C. Bernstein and CLSA raised their price target for the stock to $1,000 from $820 and $900 respectively.
A Reuters/Iposes poll found that nearly 50% of young adults find Microsoft (MSFT) "cooler" than it was a year or two ago. Microsoft's launch of the Surface Pro was supposed to allow Microsoft to challenge Apple's advantage with younger customers. Microsoft's stock fell 1.27% to $27.51.
AIG (AIG) fell 1.20% to $37.12 after announcing a plan to repurchase bonds worth $1.25 billion.
Office Depot (ODP) and OfficeMax (OMX) continued to fall after surging Tuesday on the news of a merger between the two office supply retailers. Office Depot fell 3.35% to $4.04 and OfficeMax declined 1.82% to $11.87.
Morgan Stanley (MS) chose Andres Esteban as its new head of investment banking operations in Spain. Its shares edged down 1.60% to $23.04.
Goldman Sachs (GS) shares fell to $151.68, down 2.26% after Vodafone Group (VOD) chose the bank to advise on a bid for Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (ETR:KD8), the Associated Press reported. The Russian unit of Goldman Sachs was also recommended to run the sale of Alrosa Co. Ltd., a diamond producer. The government is trying to sell stakes in state run businesses to bring in more revenue.