Updated from 3:05 p.m. EST
Stocks ended mixed Thursday afternoon as generally positive
retail sales numbers and
encouraging employment news did little to energize the market.
Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 26.23 points, or 0.3%, to 10,067.86, while the
Nasdaq closed up 2.35 points, or 0.1%, to 2047.24. The
S&P 500 gained 1.41 points to 1156.55.
The Labor Department reported better-than-expected
initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 5. The number of people filing first-time applications for unemployment fell by 56,000 to 395,000.
said it was aiming to cut its North American white-collar workforce by about 5,670 jobs, or about 10%, this year. The automaker forecast 2002 earnings of $3 a share, well above the consensus estimate of $1.93 a share. GM also raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to 60 cents a share from 50 cents, citing strong auto sales. The company's shares fell 17 cents to $50.07.
The U.S. government has begun a probe into whether criminal wrongdoing contributed to the fall of
, which declared bankruptcy last month. The investigation is parallel to civil probes being pursued by the
Securities and Exchange Commission
and Labor Department.
The morning was clogged with retail reports.
reported a 12.2% increase in holiday sales for the nine-week period ending Dec. 30. The home furnishings retailer raised its earnings forecast to a range of $1.25 to $1.28 a share from previous guidance of $1.17 to $1.24. The company said it remains cautious for 2002, predicting a low double-digit percentage increase in revenue and a high-teen percentage increase in earnings. The stock added 92 cents, or 2.2%, to $42.38.
reported a narrower-than-expected 11% decline in December
same-store sales and said its fourth-quarter loss will be no wider than 6 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to lose 12 cents a share. The company's shares rose $1.74, or 12%, to $16.26.
warned that it doesn't expect to meet fourth-quarter earnings forecasts based on weak December sales performance. Shares of the discount retail chain fell 60 cents, or 12.5%, to $4.20.
Merrill Lynch analysts weighed in on
, saying that quarterly revenue could be light. They cited current product transitions, inventory risk and high costs. Shares of the PC maker fell 42 cents, or 1.9%, to $21.23.
said Wednesday that its experimental cancer drug Bexxar has suffered another
setback. The company said that while the Food and Drug Administration continues to work on its review of Bexxar, the panel overseeing it won't be able to review the treatment at its next meeting. Shares of the drugmaker dropped $2.39, or 16.2%, to $12.38.
has agreed to relinquish exclusive claims to embryonic stem cells in a move that could have significant medical consequences. Under the terms of a settlement, the company's exclusive rights will be limited to heart cells, nerve cells and pancreas cells. Geron will retain nonexclusive commercial rights to develop new products and run diagnostic tests with three other cell types. The stock climbed 33 cents, or 3.8%, to $9.01.
Foreign markets were lower. London's FTSE 100 lost 0.7% to 5191, and Germany's Xetra Dax was down 1.1% to 5228. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed down 1.2% to 10,538, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.6% to 11,256.
Treasuries were higher across the board. About 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year Treasury was up 17/32 to 100 5/32, yielding 4.98%.