US stocks slide on unemployment data, corporate profit

January 8th, 2009 - 7:14 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 8 (Xinhua) US stocks saw a big sell-off Wednesday as disappointing job losses and gloomy profit outlook of big companies exacerbated investors’ concern over the economy.The ADP National Employment Report, an unofficial gauge, said private sector employment fell by 693,000 in December, worse than expected. The report added to growing anxiety about the upcoming December unemployment report from the US Labor Department Friday.

Disappointing profit outlook from big names such as Alcoa and Intel also dragged down the stocks.

Alcoa Inc., one of the world’s largest aluminum makers, said late Tuesday it will reduce its global workforce by about 13,500, or 13 percent of the total, by the end of the year, and lower its total output by more than 18 percent, as demand for the metal used in autos and appliances dropped. Alcoa’s announcement reminded the market that the economy remains in a tough situation.

Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, said its fourth-quarter sales dropped 23 percent, missing previous estimate and sending the stock down 3.7 percent.

Oil prices lost 11 percent and dropped below $43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Commodities slid across the board and energy shares went lower.

The Dow Jones lost 245.40 to 8,769.70. Broader indexes also moved lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 28.05 to 906.65, and the Nasdaq slipped 53.32 points to close at 1,599.06.

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