New York: US markets fell on Thursday on bleak economic reports, after 2 days of continuous gains.
A report showed that manufacturing activity in the Philadelhia area unexpectedly fell in August to a 13 month low of negative 7.7. Any number below zero indicates business activity in the sector is slowing down.
In labour, there was another unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance, jumping 12,000 to 500,000 – the highest level since the week ended 14 November.
An index of economic indicators, a forward-looking measure of economic performance, increased a bleak 0.1% in July, while analysts had expected 0.2%
In corporate news, technology company Intel said it would buy security software maker McAfee for $7.68 billion. Shares of Intel slipped 3.5%, while McAfee’s stock spiked about 58%.
Dell reported earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. But the stock still ended down 1.2% for the day. Hewlett Packard also announced better than expected earnings for their 3rd quarter, but questions about who will replace CEO Mark Hurd continue to hang over the company. The stock was down almost 1.5% for the day.
In world markets, Asian indices ended the day in the green, while European markets ended down for the day.
In commodities, oil futures for September delivery slipped 99 cents to close at $74.43 a barrel, while gold for December delivery rose $4 to $1,235.40.
In bonds, the yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.58% from 2.63% late Wednesday.