Stocks Drop but Well Off Lows at the Close

Stocks fell on Thursday but ended above session lows on talk of progress among European leaders in resolving the region’s debt crisis, while the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding a landmark healthcare law hit big health insurers. After falling as many as 177 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended off 24.75 points, or 0.20%, at 12,602.26. The S&P 500 index declined 2.81 points, or 0.21%, to 1,329.04. The Nasdaq Composite shed 25.83 points, or 0.90%, to 2,849.49.

European leaders agree more needs to be done to stimulate growth and regulate banks, though sharp divisions remain over the issue of pooling government debt as a way to ease the continent’s financial crisis. The sweeping health-care overhaul considered to be President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement was upheld Thursday by the Supreme Court, handing a critical victory to Obama as he makes a bid for re-election.

Research In Motion Ltd posted a fiscal first-quarter net loss on Thursday and said it would cut 5,000 jobs as its BlackBerry smartphone shipments fell sharply for a second straight quarter.

The price of oil hit an eight-month low Thursday as hopes dimmed for a solution to Europe’s financial crisis. Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.52, or 3.1 percent, to end at $77.69 per barrel in New York. That’s the lowest price since Oct. 4.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) were down 5% in afternoon trading on Thursday to $35.10, after the New York Times reported that the company’s hedge trading losses could reach as high as $9 billion.  JPMorgan CEO James Dimon announced the company’s Chief Investment Office’s trading losses after the market close on May 10, estimating “slightly more than $2 billion” for the second quarter.

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