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Dismal earning reports take a toll on US market

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Unsatisfactory earning report from Du-Pont and American Express led to battering of US stocks today, Tuesday, 24 July 2007. The US market plunged at the start of the day. The warning from Countrywide Financial, the nation's biggest mortgage lender, that problems are spreading beyond the subprime sector added to the woes. All ten economic sectors posted losses today.

The Dow Jones Industrials plummeted by a huge 226 points to close at 13,716. Tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 51 points to close at 2,639. S&P 500 closed lower by 30 points to close at 1,511.

Twenty-nine out of the thirty Dow stocks closed in red today. Verizon remained the sole Dow winner. Du-Pont and American Express were the main Dow laggards for the day.

The sector that was worst hit was financials, following a slew of negative developments from Countrywide and PIMCO's Bill Gross saying the credit crunch is not yet priced into equities.

American Express declared its earning last night. Today, the stock was down 5.4% as it reported more late payments from credit card issuers. The company also reported an 85% jump in loss provisions. American Express accounted for 28 points of the Dow's loss.

But topping Dow’s slump was Du-Pont whose shares fell 6.3% and contributed nearly 27 points to the Dow's loss. Results from products used in home construction and automobiles disappointed investors.

Real-estate market not nationally recovering before 2009, says, Countrywide CEO

When the market opened in the morning, stocks opened substantially lower right out of the gate. A sharp drop in Q2 earnings and soft Q3 guidance from Texas Instruments coupled with and American Express posting an 85% jump in loss provisions due to a higher rate of delinquencies initially set a negative tone.

Countrywide Financial badly missing analysts' expectations and cutting full-year forecasts amid rising delinquencies and defaults reignited the worst of underlying subprime fears and weighed heavily on the financial sector. CEO Angelo Mozilo added to the gloom when he said he didn't see the real-estate market nationally recovering before 2009.

Technology was another sore spot for investors. Apple plunged nearly 6% after AT&T reported a weaker-than-expected number of activated iPhone subscribers.

Selling remained the name of the game as the indices continued to hit fresh afternoon lows. The tech sector's inability to hold even the smallest of gains gave investors little incentive. With crude prices slipping, the energy stocks also could not come to market’s savior.

Slipping oil prices weigh heavily on energy stocks

Crude oil futures fell further today and settled below $74 after traders speculated that tomorrow’s weekly inventory report might show increase in gasoline supplies due to refineries increasing production capacity during last week. Yesterday’s reports that OPEC is concerned about global crude supplies and might also increase production if required also eased prices further.

Crude-oil futures for light sweet crude for September delivery closed at $73.56/barrel (lower by $1.33/barrel or 1.8%) on the New York Mercantile Exchange. During intra-day trading, prices touched $72.95. Prices are up 20% this year.

On the New York Stock Exchange, nearly 2 billion shares traded hands, while 2.5 billion were exchanged on the Nasdaq. Declining issues beat advancers 3-1 on the NYSE and by 5-1 on the Nasdaq.

For tomorrow, investors will have a host of economic data to treat themselves to. Existing home sales will garner added attention when figures are released at 10:00 ET. Oil prices will also be in focus with the EIA's weekly inventories report out at 10:30 ET. The Fed's Beige Book will hit the wires at 14:00 ET. Among earning reports, tomorrow’s biggest names are Boeing before market opens, and Apple after close

Posted by FR at 5:11 AM  


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