Stocks Finished Lower ahead of Bernanke Speech

U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday to snap a three-day winning run ahead of a critical speech from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 170.89 points, or 1.51%, to 11,149.82. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 18.33 points, or 1.56%, to 1,159.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 48.06 points, or 1.95%, to 2,419.63.

Apple shareholders on Thursday appeared to be getting over the sudden resignation of Steve Jobs.Apple Inc. shares fell $4.03, or about 1 percent, to $372.16 in midday trading, but the entire market was down by an equal amount as well.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has named an executive from PC maker Lenovo Group as its new CEO Thursday, giving him a mission to improve the struggling company’s finances and turn the rise of smartphones and tablets into an opportunity rather than a threat.

Oil rose Thursday as concerns grew about the potential impact of Hurricane Irene on U.S. oil and gas supplies. enchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 14 cents to finish at $85.30 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil produced abroad, rose 47 cents to end the day at $110.62 per barrel in London.

Gold futures closed higher Thursday as lower equities and a swirl of rumors that Germany might be next to get a sovereign-debt downgrade contributed to renewed nervousness in the markets. Gold for December delivery added $5.90, or 0.3%, to finish at $1,763.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Treasury prices advanced on Thursday, pushing 10-year yields down for the first day in four. Yields on 10-year notes, which move inversely to prices, declined 6 basis points to 2.24%, from 2.29% before the jobless-claims report. A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point.

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