Stocks Ended Sharply Lower as Fiscal Worries Weigh

U.S. stocks on Thursday piled on losses for a second day as worries about lawmakers finding a timely solution to the “fiscal cliff” outweighed stronger-than-expected economic data.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 121.41 points, or 0.94%, to 12,811.3, its lowest level since late July. The S&P 500 index declined 17.02 points, or 1.22%, to 1,377.51. The Nasdaq Composite lost 41.71 points, or 1.42%, to 2,895.58, its lowest close since late July.

The fiscal cliff would drive the U.S. economy back into recession next year and result in a jump in the jobless rate to 9.1% by the end of 2013, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office said.

Daily deals site Groupon (GRPN) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that fell short of analysts’ expectations on Thursday. The company broke even on a per share basis in the third- quarter excluding items on revenue of $569 million.

Walt Disney (DIS) reported quarterly earnings on Thursday that matched analysts’ expectations, while revenue fell short. Earnings excluding items rose to 68 cents per share from 59 cents a share in the year-earlier period, matching analyst expectations. Revenue improved to $10.78 billion from $10.43 billion a year ago, but fell short of the $10.92 billion analysts had expected.






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