The Dow Jones Industrial Average took a 65-point nosedive immediately after Thursday’s opening bell. All three major stock indices flopped and chopped around the day’s lowest levels until 2:00. The Dow was the only index to successfully climb out of the ditch before the closing bell. Although Miami-based company stocks had a miserable day, Ryder (R) made a valiant effort to climb into the black, although it fell slightly short of that goal.
The Department of Labor released its weekly report on initial unemployment claims on Thursday morning. For the week ending March 24, the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted claims was 359,000. This represented a 5,000-claim decline from last week’s revised figure of 364,000. Although this week’s new claims represented the lowest level since April of 2008, the report indicated 9,000 more claims than the 350,000 expected by economists.
The Commerce Department reported that GDP increased at an annual rate of 3% during the fourth quarter of 2011. Although this was consistent with economists’ expectations, the report revealed that corporate profits increased at their slowest rate in three years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 19 points on Thursday to close at 13,145 for a gain of 15 basis points (0.15 percent). The S&P 500 declined by 16 basis points (0.16 percent) to finish at 1,403. The NASDAQ Composite lost 31 basis points (0.31 percent) to end the day at 3,095.
Miami-based corporations had a lousy day on Thursday. Ryder System (R) sustained the least damage, with a loss of 17 basis points (0.17%) to close at 52.72. Royal Caribbean (RCL) sank by 1.15% to finish at 29.31. Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) sank by 1.17% to close at 32.04. Lennar declined by 1.66% to end the day at 27.21.
Our “thought for the day” comes from Barry Ritholtz, who posted this commentary immediately after Thursday’s closing bell:
This is what I mean by a market that refuses to go lower.
Yesterday we were off 1% midday, but then recovered half of those losses. Today we were down almost three quarters of a percent, and by the bell, the Dow was positive, the SPX was flat, and the Nazz was down less than a 1/4%.
Last week, for all the sturm und drang, was a mere down 0.50%. That’s right, the seemingly worst week of the year (March 19th) was down less than 1%.
I would prefer to see some backing and filling, some digestion of recent gains. A little selloff, less complacency would be healthy, before the next leg up. Ben apparently thinks otherwise, so we go higher. We did some rebalancing this week, but remain “miserably long.”
I am reminded of Duvall in Apocalypse Now: “Someday, this war’s gonna end …”
The following companies will be playing “beat the number” on Friday, with the release of their quarterly earnings reports: Cardium Therapeutics (CXM), Feihe International (ADY), MFC Industrial (MIL), Sino Clean Energy (SCEI) and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBSA). Good luck!