Stocks in New York opened lower Thursday as bitter dose of economic data offset the House's OK to the stimulus package and Wednesday's "bad bank" euphoria.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
opened down 139 points at 8236, and the
was falling 20 points at 854. The
also was off, by 33 points at 1524, out of the gate.
Late Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House approved the Obama administration's historic $819 billion
stimulus plan, with Republicans in unanimous opposition. The vote sent the bill to the Senate, where debate will begin next week. Democratic leadership has pledged to have the legislation complete by mid-February.
Investors were reminded of the dire state of the economy early Thursday. The department of labor said that initial jobless claims increased to 588,000, from 585,000 a week prior, and well above the forecast for 575,000 seeking benefits.
In other economic data, orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell for the fifth straight month in December, marking the largest annual drop in demand since the recession year of 2001.
Stocks rallied Wednesday with a surge in financials on news that the Obama administration was considering a "bad bank" to sequester toxic assets that have been poisoning bank balance sheets. U.S. government officials are reportedly throwing around the idea of spending another
$1 trillion to $2 trillion to help restore the banks to health, the
Wall Street Journal
Earnings season has passed the halfway mark with a wild mix of bad and not-as-bad-as-expected numbers, but some promising figures are emerging yet. Biotech bellwether
reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter adjusted profit
more than doubled, aided by an acquisition and higher sales of its cancer drugs.
On the other hand,
its net profit tumbled 95% in the third quarter, as the economic storm pelted sales of its core electronics products.
also reported their profits had a serious decline in the last quarter of 2008.
In commodities, oil was falling $1.66, at $40.50; gold was shedding $8.40 to $881.60 an ounce.
Longer-dated Treasuries were recently mixed; the 10-year note was recently down 11/32 to yield 2.7%, the 30-year was rising 1 5.5/32, yielding 3.5%.
The dollar was flat against the euro, and weaker against the yen and pound Thursday.
Overseas, European exchanges were sharply lower, with the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt falling 2.3% and 1.4%. Asia fared better, with Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closing with gains.