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Overnight Markets: Disappointing economic figures pressure Wall Street

The S&P 500 caps the biggest monthly fall since September, as jobless claims increased and the economy grew more slowly than previously estimated.

 
Overnight Markets: Disappointing economic figures pressure Wall Street

Wall Street declined modestly on Thursday, capping the biggest monthly fall for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since September, as US economic reports showed jobless claims increased and the economy grew more slowly than previously estimated.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 26 points, or 0.21%, to 12,393. The S&P 500 Index fell three points, or 0.23%, to 1,310. The broad S&P 500 index declined 6.3% in May, its largest percentage drop since September. The Nasdaq Composite lost 10 points, or 0.35%, to 2,827.

Equities fell as figures showed the US economy grew more slowly in the first quarter than previously estimated and business activity expanded in May at the slowest pace in more than two years. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits increased. A Labour Department report due tomorrow is projected to show unemployment held at 8.1%.

A report of possible plans to assist Spain with its troubled banks helped Wall Street nearly erase losses of 1% in the afternoon.  Spain's economy minister later dismissed 'rumours' that Madrid was discussing a rescue loan programme.

Shares of U.S. Steel fell 5.1% and Cliffs Natural Resources declined 6.1% as energy and materials company shares led slides on the S&P 500. Exxon retreated 1.5%, the lowest level since November.

Joy Global Inc slumped 5.1% after the mining equipment maker cut forecasts. Facebook hit a fresh intraday low of $26.83 before bouncing back to close up 5%.

Elsewhere, Caterpillar Inc., the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, slid 2.8%. TiVo Inc. retreated 4.7% after the company reported a first-quarter loss.

On the positive side, TJX Cos gained 2.7% after the low-price retailer was among those to report sales at stores open at least a year that beat Wall Street forecasts. Ciena Corp surged 14.1% after the network equipment company posted a surprise second-quarter adjusted profit.

Bank of America Corp. rallied 2.1% to pace gains in financial shares.

Asian shares decline

In Asia, equities declined on Friday in morning trade after reports on China’s manufacturing and the US economy missed estimates, and as Spain denied it is in talks about a bailout.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1% to 111 as of 10:36 a.m. in Tokyo. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.4%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.8% and South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 0.8%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.9%.

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