U.S. stocks decline on Bernanke’s comments as HP shares tumble

‘Back and Forth’

“There will be this back and forth,” Wayne Lin, a money manager at Baltimore-based Legg Mason Inc., said in a phone interview. His firm oversees $646 billion. “People are coming to the realization that earnings growth is not going to be as robust as analysts had expected. That’s starting to creep in. On the other hand, housing is strengthening. As for Europe, ultimately, they will do what it takes to support Greece.”

HP tumbled 12 percent to $11.69. The charge from the acquisition of Autonomy was due to “accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations” that happened before Hewlett-Packard purchased the company last year for $10.3 billion. HP also forecast fiscal first-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates amid a continuing slump in personal computer sales.

Best Buy

Best Buy sank 13 percent to $11.97. Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly, who took over in September, is increasing employee training to improve customer service and plans to work with vendors on exclusive products as Best Buy customers defect to Amazon.com Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Same-store sales fell 4.3 percent in the third quarter, more than the 3.3 percent drop estimated by analysts in a Retail Metrics survey. Sales by that measure have slid in nine of the past 10 quarters.

Intel dropped 4.3 percent to $19.38. The shares were downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS, which cited uncertainty around CEO transitions. Paul Otellini will retire in May, in a surprise move three years before mandatory retirement, after failing to equip the company for a shift toward mobile devices and away from the personal computers it long dominated.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. retreated 11 percent to $30.73. The largest U.S. iron-ore producer was downgraded to sell at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which cited the company’s high production costs in weak iron ore markets.

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