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Stocks Post Heavy Losses; J.C. Penney Surges in Afterhours

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets fell Thursday amid mixed economic data, while retail stocks dropped on disappointing earnings. Small caps, as measured by the Russell 2000, were off more than 1.6%.

David Tepper, founder of $20 billion hedge-fund firm Appaloosa Management, described markets as "dangerous" and said he was worried the U.S. economy wasn't growing fast enough. "I think it's nervous time," he said at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, noting stocks may grind higher in the near term.

WATCH: More market update videos on TheStreet TV | More videos from Jane Searle

Industrial production fell 0.6% in April after having risen about 1% in both February and March. Manufacturing output fell 0.4%.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.01% to 16,446.81 while the S&P 500 settled down 0.94% to 1,870.85. The Nasdaq was 0.76% lower to 4,069.29.
  • U.S. weekly initial jobless claims fell 24,000 in the week of May 10 to 297,000, below economists' average estimate of 320,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since May 12, 2007. The April consumer price index rose 0.3% as expected. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey's general business conditions index jumped eighteen points to 19 for May, its highest level in nearly four years.
  • The Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook report showed general activity fell slightly from 16.6 in April to 15.4 in May. "It appears that the regional PMIs have completely recovered from their previous weather-related slump," Capital Economics economist Amna Asaf said of the report. Confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in May fell one point to 45 from an April reading of 46, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This evening, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to a give a speech to a Small Business Administration event in Washington.
  • Walmart (WMT) fell 2.43% after missing first-quarter earnings expectations by 5 cents at $1.10 a share along with posting disappointing revenue. The company gave a lower-than-expected second-quarter outlook. Gentiva Health Services (GTIV) jumped nearly 62% after Kindred Healthcare (KND) offered to buy the company for about $1.6 billion including debt. Kohl's (KSS) was down more than 3% after earnings came in shy of consensus estimates. Same-store sales declined by 3.4%. Cisco (CSCO) jumped more than 6% after reporting fiscal third-quarter earnings that topped analysts' forecasts and the networker said it's eyeing a return to growth. J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) was surging more than 12.5% in afterhours trading Thursday after reporting a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss of $1.16 and forecasting a second-quarter same-store sales increase by the mid-single digits.
  • The new tech selloff continued with Facebook (FB) off 2.21% and Yahoo! (YHOO) down 1.08%.
  • The FTSE 100 and DAX in Germany closed down 0.55% and 1.01% respectively after data showed eurozone growth came in at a much smaller-than-expected 0.2% for the first quarter. A jump in Japanese consumption ahead of a sales tax hike in April saw economic growth outstrip expectations to hit an annualized 5.9% in the first quarter. The Nikkei closed 0.75% lower while the Hang Seng was 0.66% higher.
  • Russia's first-quarter economic growth slowed to its weakest pace in a year as the Ukraine crisis hits investment. Gross domestic product lifted 0.9% in the first quarter from a year earlier after a 2% gain in the previous quarter.
  • U.S. stocks fell Wednesday after markets posted two days of record highs. Despite recent highs for the markets, traders have noted a lack of breadth in upswings, with few individual stocks hitting new highs. "If the S&P 500 fails to extend strongly above 1,900, the bulls may see this as an indication that there is a lack of buyers, which would leave the market vulnerable to a break below 1876-1885, and potentially reignite talk of a significant correction," notes Sam Stovall, managing director at S&P Capital IQ.

-- By Jane Searle and Andrea Tse in New York

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