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US stocks fall over 0.4%

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US stocks closed lower overnight with the Dow and S&P 500 down over 0.4 per cent.

The Dow lost 53.05 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 12,952.07.

The Nasdaq dropped 19.87 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 2966.89.

The S&P 500 took off 6.5 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 1365.68.

In news, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said at the Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress before the committee on financial services, House of Representatives that while the US economy continues to recover, “the pace of expansion has been uneven and modest by historical standards”.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book said reports from the 12 districts suggest overall economic activity in January and early February continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace.

Real gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of three per cent in the fourth quarter, according to a second estimate from the US Department of Commerce.

And Chicago Purchasing Managers said the February Chicago Business Barometer rose to 64 in February from 60.2 in January.

In earnings, Costco announced net income of US$394 million for the quarter, compared with US$348 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Shares gained US$0.79, or 0.93 per cent, to US$86.06.

And Staples reported net income of US$283.6 million, or US$0.41 per share, for the quarter. In the same quarter a year earlier, it reported net income of US$274.7 million or US$0.38 per share. Shares fell US$1.34, or 8.38 per cent, to US$14.66.

Yesterday in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 35.9 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 4298.6 and the All Ords was 36.9 points, or 0.85 per cent, higher to 4388.1.

Oil this morning was at US$106.93 per barrel and gold was at US$1697 per ounce. The Australian dollar was buying 107.24 US cents, 67.38 pence Sterling, 80.48 euro cents and 87.01 Japanese yen. 

Published on: Thursday, March 01, 2012

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