Early gains in the wake of a smooth Spanish debt sale and largely positive earnings reports evaporated with investors turning their focus to another underwhelming jobless claims report, a shortfall in existing home sales last month and a bland read on manufacturing in the Philadelphia region. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 69 points, or 0.5%, to close at 12,964, bouncing nearly 70 points after scraping a session low of 12,897. Breadth was extremely negative with 27 of the index's 30 components moving lower, led by Alcoa ( AA), Bank of America ( BAC), Caterpillar ( CAT), DuPont ( DD), and McDonald's ( MCD) all down more than 1%. General Electric ( GE)m Travelers ( TRV) and Verizon Communications ( VZ) were the only blue chippers posting gains. The S&P 500 lost 8 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 1377. The Nasdaq was off 24 points, or 0.8%, settling at 3007. Apple ( AAPL) shares continued their recent run of volatility, falling back below $600 in afternoon trades. The stock closed at $587.44, down 3.4% on volume of nearly 30 million as some apprehension leaking into the market about its fiscal second-quarter results due next Tuesday. "The fact that economic data is not continuously going up, up, up is not really just a warning to us, but at some point investors are going to have to sort of reassess this U.S.-economy-is-doing-just-fine theory that's been gaining steam since late last year, because the last three weeks of economic data reports have not been all that good," cautions Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks slumped Thursday with shaky data on employment, manufacturing and housing raising fresh questions about the health of the U.S. economy.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
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