Wall Street falls on weak economic data

December 5th, 2008 - 7:48 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Dec 5 (Xinhua) Stock prices on the Wall Street fell Thursday on disappointing US economic data and downbeat earnings. The US Labor Department said the number of unemployed workers drawing benefits after claiming an initial week of aid jumped to 4. 087 million in the week ended Nov 22, the highest since December 1982, from 3.998 million the prior week.

The Commerce Department said factory orders plunged by 5.1 percent in October, the steepest decline in eight years.

The first November sales reports showed deep declines. Costco Wholesale Corp., usually a strong performer, said it had a drop in same-store sales twice as large as analysts forecast. And many other retailers saw a double-digit decline in sales. However, Wal- Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said November sales rose 3.4 percent, exceeding previous estimate.

Merck & Co. lost ground in early trading after saying the volatile global economy may reduce earnings. DuPont Co., the third- biggest US chemical maker, forecasted a fourth-quarter loss and planed to cut 2,500 jobs. Moreover, AT&T Inc., the largest US phone company, will cut 12,000 jobs, or four percent of the workforce.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 215.45, or 2.51 percent, to 8,376.24. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 25.52, or 2.93 percent, to 845.22, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 46.82, or 3.14 percent, to 1,445.56.

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