Shares of media companies plunged in trading on Thursday. The Nasdaq fell the most on a percentage basis among the major indexes, losing as many as 100 points, and biotech stocks sold off. The Dow closed lower for a sixth straight day.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,419.75, -120.72, (-0.69%)
- S&P 500: 2,083.56, -16.28, (-0.78%)
- Nasdaq: 5,056.44, -83.50, (-1.62%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
- Media stocks plunged. Viacom shares dived more than 21% after the company reported lower-than-expected ad revenues from its cable business. The stocks were shaken up by concerns about the cable industry amid the rise of pay TV. Comcast, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox also declined in the media sell off.
- Crude oil extended declines to four-month lows. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell to as low as $44.20 per barrel in New York. Oil collapsed into a bear market last month on oversupply concerns, weakening demand from China, and forthcoming exports from Iran after sanctions are lifted.
- Initial jobless claims rose to 270,000 last week from 267,000 in the prior week. Wall Street had been looking for a print of 272,000. The four-week moving average of claims for unemployment insurance fell to 268,250 from 274,750. On Friday, we'll get a more comprehensive view of the labor market through the jobs report (here's a complete preview.)
- Troop reductions at the US Army led the surge in job cuts in July, according to the monthly report by staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In all, 105,696 workers were laid off, bringing the year-to-date total to 393,368, 34% higher than the same period a year ago. "With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down and pressure to cut government spending, the military has been vulnerable to reductions," said CEO John Challenger in the release. Hiring plans by employers rose to 11,637 from 11,176 in June and fell from 16,544 a year ago.
- Tesla shares declined 10%. The electric car company reported a less-than-expected quarterly loss but cut its outlook for sales. It expects to ship between 50,000 and 55,000 cars this year, down from 55,000 originally announced. Most sell-side analyst notes we thumbed through kept their bullish rating on the stock.
- Keurig Green Mountain tumbled 30% and was the biggest decliner on the S&P 500. The maker of one-cup coffee brewers lowered its full-year forecast for sales in its quarterly results released Wednesday.
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