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Overnight Markets: Most US stocks fall as Bernanke offsets China rate cut
Bernanke said the Fed was ready to take action but gave no hint of imminent steps.
Most US stocks declined on Thursday as optimism about China’s first interest-rate cut since 2008 was overshadowed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments that dimmed hopes for more US stimulus.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 46 points, or 0.4%, to 12,461 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed nearly flat at 1,315. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 14 points, or 0.48%, to close at 2,831.
Stocks pared a rally in the morning after Bernanke, in a testimony on Thursday, said the Fed was ready to take action but gave no hint of imminent steps. His comments were seen as offsetting more supportive comments from other Fed members, but still leaving the door open for more action.
The surprising move by China's central bank later to slash its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points helped ease worries about faltering global demand. Stocks of US companies linked to China's commodity-hungry industrial complex were lifted.
However, shares erased gains in the final hour of trading after a report that Greece’s upcoming election could be derailed and a downgrade by Fitch in Spain's credit rating to 'BBB' with a negative outlook.
Among the day’s biggest decliners were the technology and financial shares. Bank of America slumped 2.9%. Hewlett-Packard dropped 1.3%.
Elsewhere, Newmont Mining lost 2%. Best Buy Co. fell 1% after and founder and chairman Richard Schulze resigned from the electronics retailer’s board sooner than planned. Facebook fell 1.9%, after rallying 3.6% yesterday.
Among the other decliners, shares of Navistar International Corp shed 14.3% after the truck maker posted a second-quarter loss.
Molina Healthcare Inc plunged 31% after the health insurer recalled its 2012 earnings guidance, citing uncertainties regarding medical costs in Texas. Nvidia fell 4% after FBR slashed its price target on the company.
On the other hand, industrial shares gained with United Technologies Corp. advancing 2.4%. Boeing Co., rallied 1.4%.
In Asia, stocks fell on Friday amid concern that central banks are struggling to reinforce global demand amid Europe’s deteriorating debt crisis.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific slid 1.1% to 112 as of 12:42 p.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.6%. South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 0.4% as the Bank of Korea held off from altering borrowing costs for a 12th straight month. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.3% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1%.
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by Gavin Lumsden on Dec 19, 2014 at 17:24