Sat, April 14, 2012
Business > Markets

Wall Street posts biggest weekly loss this year

2012-04-13 23:25:28 GMT2012-04-14 07:25:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NEW YORK, April 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, logging the worst weekly decline for the year, as weak U.S. economic data weighed on the market, while concerns about the European debt crisis resurfaced.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 136.99 points, or 1.05 percent, to 12,849.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 17.30 points, or 1.25 percent, to 1,370.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 44.22 points, or 1.45 percent, to 3,011.33.

China's first quarter GDP growth disappointed investors as the world's second largest country grew by 8.1 percent, the slowest pace in nearly three years, and was much lower than the expectations of 9 percent increase.

Also adding investors'concerns, U.S. economic data on Friday showed some weakness. U.S. consumer sentiment slipped in April as gasoline prices continued to climb. The Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment dropped to 75.7 in April from 76.2 in March.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in March as the cost of most goods and services rose.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at a conference in New York, defending the central bank's response to the financial crisis, but made no comments about the current state of the economy or any policy actions to spur the economic growth.

On earnings front, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on Friday released its earnings report for the first quarter, with a profit of 5.4 billion dollars, which was lower than previous quarter, as mortgage-related costs continued to dent profit.

Also, Wells Fargo made a record 4.2 billion dollars profit in the first quarter, up 13 percent compared with prior quarter, as the bank's mortgage lending continued to grow.

However, despite strong earnings results from the two banks, the financial sectors still dragged the market, along with tech sector, while utilities and consumer staples managed to gain slightly.

Google surprisingly announced a two-for-one stock split plan after the tech giant reported a strong first quarter earnings later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, investors' concerns about the European debt crisis weighed on the market as yields on Spain's 10-year government bonds rose to 5.95 percent, the highest level since last November, after data showed that Spanish banks may lack of liquidity.

On other markets, the dollar rose as risk-aversion appetite emerged, while the oil price dipped on economic growth worry. Gold price trimmed more than 1 percent as some hedge fund managers warned that the gold price is too high.

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