View Mobile Site
 
Posted: February 28, 2013 10:26 a.m.

After 2 days of big gains, stocks turn mixed

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks turned mixed Thursday after two days of triple-digit rallies. Big-name companies reported higher quarterly earnings and the government said that the jobless claims are falling, but impending budget cuts cast a pall.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up three points at 14,078 as of 10:06 a.m. That's 86 points away from the all-time high it reached in October 2007, before the financial crisis imploded.

The Standard & Poor's 500 was up two at 1,518. The Nasdaq composite rose 10 to 3,172.

The government said the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the last three months of 2012. That's hardly considered robust, but it's better than the previous estimate. Originally, the government thought the economy had shrunk 0.1 percent in that period.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid also fell, a sign that the job market could be picking up.

The past two days have been good for the stock market, with the Dow gaining a combined 291 points. That rise was largely driven by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's avowal that the Fed will keep trying to prop up the economy with bond purchases and other programs. That made investors glad, but their relief is counterintuitive: The Fed's willingness to continue the stimulus means that the Fed thinks the economy is doing poorly.

Automatic government budget cuts are set to take effect Friday, slashing spending in the defense industry and elsewhere. They're happening because Democrats and Republicans haven't hammered out compromises to their disagreements about the budget, and Thursday gave no real indication that they will do so any time soon. Congressional leaders weren't scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on the matter until Friday, after the cuts have already kicked in.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.89 percent from 1.90 percent late Wednesday.

Among companies making big moves:

—Groupon, the coupons website, plunged 21 percent after reporting late Wednesday that its quarterly loss had expanded. Shares were down $1.26 to $4.72.

—J.C. Penney plunged 19 percent. Investors were unnerved by the $552 million quarterly loss the department store reported late Wednesday, which was larger than they were expecting. The stock dropped $4.10 to $17.06.

—A number of retailers and restaurants reported results Thursday morning. Wendy's, Domino's and the clothing chain Chico's were all up after reporting higher profit and revenue.

 
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...