Stocks Edge Lower as Euro Rally Eases

U.S. stocks edged lower in early trading on Friday, with investors taking a breath after a two-day leap that came in relief over Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 9.61 points to 12,198.94. The  S&P 500 fell 4.40 points to 1,280.19. The Nasdaq Composite declined 8.09 points to 2,730.54.

The market’s quick embrace of the latest effort to tackle Greece’s mammoth debt burden and restore confidence in the Continent’s banks reflected hope that this plan was broader and more robust than previous ones.

The head of Europe’s bailout fund sought financial support from China on Friday to help resolve the bloc’s debt crisis, saying that while no quick deal was in sight he was still confident Beijing would keep buying bonds issued by his fund.

Top congressional Republicans, Democrats and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are united in a single message to the special bipartisan committee looking for ways to cut the deficit: Leave military spending alone. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday that the Pentagon budget was cut more than enough in the debt accord this past summer by President Barack Obama and Republicans.

Americans spent in September at three times the pace of the previous month, even though their incomes barely budged. Consumer spending rose 0.6 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Friday. The gain was driven by a big rise in purchases of durable goods, such as autos.

Whirlpool Corp.’s third-quarter earnings more than doubled, but the company announced a cost- reduction plan as sales grew slower than expected. The company, whose brands also include KitchenAid and Maytag, slashed its full-year earnings estimate to $4.75 to $5.25 a share from its July forecast of $7.25 to $8.25.

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