December 19, 2014
Fed uncertainty sends the Dow, S&P 500 down for 5th day
US stocks fell today, with the Dow and S&P 500 dropping for a fifth straight session after a round of mixed economic data left traders guessing as to when the Federal Reserve would begin to slow its stimulus program.
The Dow and the S&P 500 are in their worst stretch since September. However, the moves have been slight, with the S&P 500 down about 1.2 percent over the period.
Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2012 and faster than the 3 percent rate that had been expected. Another report showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week in a hopeful sign for the labor market - a day ahead of the November nonfarm payrolls report.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 68.26 points, or 0.43 percent, to end at 15,821.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 7.78 points, or 0.43 percent, to finish at 1,785.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 4.84 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 4,033.17.
European stocks also sank over today's trading, hitting seven-week lows.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares lost 1 percent to 1,261.30 points, dropping for the fourth straight session. The index has lost 3.4 percent so far this week, on track to post its worst weekly performance since mid-June.
Italian and Spanish stocks - which have been outpacing the broader European market in the past five months - were among the most hit on Thursday, with BBVA down 2.6 percent, Banco Santander down 2 percent and Intesa SanPaolo down 3.4 percent.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index lost 1.3 percent, to 2,953.17 points.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei shed 1.5 percent extending the previous session's worst one-day drop in six weeks, as investors stayed cautious ahead of today's US jobs report. The Nikkei ended down 230.45 points at 15,177.49.
The index shed 2.2 percent in the previous session, pulling away from Tuesday's six-year closing high.