Most U.S. stocks fall on World Bank forecasts amid earnings

 Most U.S. stocks fell, following yesterday’s advance, as economic concern after the World Bank downgraded global growth forecasts tempered a rally in Apple Inc. and investors watched corporate earnings.

Apple, which slid below $500 a share yesterday for the first time in 11 months, rallied 4.2 percent to halt a three-day decline.

More than three stocks fell for every two advancing on U.S. exchanges as of 4 p.m. in New York. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced less than 0.1 percent to 1,472.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 23.66 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,511.23 today.

“The cuts in growth forecasts are reminders that there’s still work to be done,” said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis at San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp. His firm has $1.92 trillion in client assets. “In the U.S., it’s early to talk about the earnings season, but so far we’re relatively pleased with what we’ve seen. We’ve had a good start to the year in stocks. There’s very little doubt that there’s quite a bit of money on the sidelines that could provide a nice boost higher.”

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast for this year as austerity measures, high unemployment and low business confidence weigh on economies in developed nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government cut its growth forecast for Europe’s biggest economy. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker said the strength of the euro poses a threat to the region’s economy.

Industrial Production

The U.S. economy picked up across much of the country last month, boosted by auto and home sales, even as the outlook for unemployment showed few signs of improvement, the Federal Reserve said. Industrial production in the U.S. climbed for a second month in December as demand picked up for business equipment, showing factories expanded even as lawmakers battled over the federal budget.

Besides JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, nine other companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report results today. Almost 75 percent of the 39 S&P 500 companies which reported quarterly results beat analysts forecasts. Fourth-quarter profits grew 2.5 percent, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the second-slowest quarterly growth since 2009, the data show.

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