Jittery investors sent stocks tumbling yesterday as Wall Street was pummeled by a sharp climb in oil prices, rising unemployment and a disappointing forecast from General Motors...
NEW YORK — Jittery investors sent stocks tumbling yesterday as Wall Street was pummeled by a sharp climb in oil prices, rising unemployment and a disappointing forecast from General Motors.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 111.95 to 10,505.83.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, declined 51 cents to close at $26.27 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, sank $1.31 to $50.63.
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Broader stock indicators also fell sharply. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 10.25 at 1,177.45, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 21.97 to 2,070.56.
Crude-oil futures extended their gains, surpassing $48 per barrel and closing at a six-week high, as investors worried about declining U.S. reserves, the Iraqi elections and evidence of OPEC production cuts. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $48.04, up $1.67, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Wall Street also was unnerved by the latest first-time jobless-claims report, which showed a jump of 10,000 claims to 367,000 last week, a three-month high. After last Friday’s modest job-creation report, the labor market remained a major concern for investors.
But while the markets held on with only modest losses, General Motors’ outlook — at the low end of Wall Street expectations — sent stocks tumbling.
“You get a little bad news, and there’s nobody willing to step up and buy on the dip,” said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at Wachovia Securities. “It’s the same pattern we’ve seen nearly every day this year. Investors are being very conservative and playing this day-to-day. It’s not new to the market that GM’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it was enough to trigger some sell programs.”
The Commerce Department’s December report on retail sales failed to impress investors. Sales rose 1.2 percent for the month, better than the 1.1 percent increase economists had forecast. However, taking auto sales out of the equation, retail sales rose just 0.3 percent, less than the 0.4 percent Wall Street expected.
Dow component GM fell after predicting 2005 earnings of $4 to $5 per share. Wall Street analysts had projected $4.78 per share. The outlook was disappointing given GM’s projected earnings of $6 to $6.50 for 2004. General Motors fell $1.07 to $37.32.