Stocks Ended Down on Growth Worries

U.S. stocks ended down on Thursday, as weaker Chinese factory activity and contractions in European business activity overshadowed better news on U.S. jobs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 78.48 points, or 0.60%, to 13,046.14. The S&P 500 lost 10.11 points, or 0.72%, to 1,392.78. The Nasdaq Composite fell 12.00 points, or 0.39%, to 3,063.32.

Both China and Germany reported soft manufacturing data, which caused jitters to pulse through the markets throughout the trading day. Signs of a continued resurgence of employment in the United States couldn’t help investors shake the funk. The number of Americans filing for unemployment claims hit a 4-year low.

The economy is in much better shape and does not need further help from the central bank, a top Federal Reserve official known for his hawkish policy views said on Thursday. Although growth is “slower than we would like,” Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told Fox Business Network, “it’s gaining momentum.”

Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) said Thursday that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 7% to $560 million, or $1.20 a share, from $523 million, or $1.08 a share, a year earlier. Sales in the quarter ended Feb. 29 climbed 15% to $5.85 billion. Orders of shoes and apparel for delivery from March through July rose 15% to $9.4 billion.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) on Thursday reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $224 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with a profit of $72 million, or 7 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue totaled $2.1 billion, down from $2.3 billion.

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