US close: S&P 500, Dow Jones fall to one-month low after mixed data

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - Jobless claims surge to two-month high
- Retail sales beat estimates for November
- House approves budget deal

Dow Jones: -0.66%
Nasdaq: -0.14%
S&P 500: -0.38%

US stock fell on Thursday as investors continued to tread with caution in the face of mixed economic data ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.38% to finish at 1,775.50, its lowest closing level since November 12th, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.66% to 15,739.43, its worst close since November 7th.

Losses on the Nasdaq were limited by decent gains from Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) , though the index still closed down 0.14% at 3,998.4, its first finish below the 4,000 level since November 25th.

News (Other OTC: NWSAL - news) came at the end of the session that the House in Washington had passed the budget deal by a wide margin to avoid a government shutdown next month and ease spending cuts over the next two years. 332 voted in favour of the deal, while 94 voted again. The agreement is expected to pass the Senate next week.

As speculation continues to ramp up regarding the future of the Fed's quantitative easing programme, data released Thursday showed that jobless claims surged to their highest level in two months, while retail sales growth picked up in November.

"If markets were looking for additional clues as to what the Fed might do next week then today's US data didn't really tilt the scales either way coming in as it did somewhat mixed," said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets.

Jobless claims rose to 368,000 in the week ended December 7th from a revised 300,000 the week before. Analysts had expected a much smaller increase to 320,000.

However, analysts warned about reading too much into the numbers given that the Labor Department said volatile seasonal factors - related to the timing of Thanksgiving - affected the data. Analyst Cooper Howes from Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) said: "We would suggest smoothing through the volatility and looking at the four-week moving average, which rose 6,000 to 329,000."

The volume of US retail sales expanded at a 0.7% month-on-month pace in November, figures from the Census Bureau revealed on Thursday. This was higher than a revised 0.6% gain in October and ahead of the consensus estimate for 0.5%.

So-called 'core' retail sales (which strip out sales of vehicles, gasoline, and building materials) were up 0.6%, well above Barclays Research's 0.3% forecast, and growth was revised up in both October (to 0.8% from 0.5%) and September (to 0.4% from 0.3%), the broker pointed out to clients.

Paul Dales, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics, said that the data suggests that the "holiday shopping season began on a strong note".

JPMorgan in focus on Madoff settlement

Investment banking group JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM - news) edged higher despite reports that it is near a $2bn settlement with the Justice Department related to its relationship with Bernie Madoff.

Facebook rallied on the news that it is to join the Standard & Poor's 500 index next week just a year after its debut on the stock market.

Telecommunications network equipment maker Ciena Corp declined after posting fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share that missed forecasts.

Oracle (TLO: ORA-U.TI - news) was lower after RBC Capital cut its rating on the stock from 'buy' to 'hold'.

Airlines gained as IATA raised its forecasts for airlines' profitability in 2013 and 2014. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV - news) was raised to 'buy' from 'neutral' at Bank of America (TLO: BAC.TI - news) -Merrill Lynch. Delta Airlines was also among the best performers.


S&P 500 - Risers
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) $18.79 +4.56%
Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) $11.48 +2.68%
Netflix Inc (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) . (NFLX) $373.33 +2.57%
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) $36.57 +2.35%
Delta Airlines Inc. (DAL) $28.21 +1.99%
BB&T Corp. (BBT) $35.36 +1.96%
Helmerich & Payne Inc (NYSE: HP - news) . (HP) $79.81 +1.77%
Tyco International Ltd (NYSE: TYC - news) (TYC) $37.79 +1.64%
Cameron International Corp. (CAM (Madrid: CAM.MC - news) ) $55.92 +1.64%
Ingersoll Rand Ltd. (IR) $56.92 +1.62%

S&P 500 - Fallers
AES Corp. (AES (Frankfurt: AES.F - news) ) $13.85 -3.28%
Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE: JNPR - news) . (JNPR) $20.64 -3.19%
JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) $11.80 -3.12%
Teradyne Inc (NYSE: TER - news) . (TER) $16.36 -2.85%
Reynolds American Inc (NYSE: RAI - news) . (RAI) $49.11 -2.85%
Archer (Frankfurt: 8SW.F - news) -Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) $40.59 -2.69%
F5 Networks Inc (NasdaqGS: FFIV - news) . (FFIV) $81.99 -2.67%
Sandisk Corp (NasdaqGS: SNDK - news) . (SNDK) $65.58 -2.66%
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX - news) (DGX) $53.81 -2.52%
J. M. Smucker Co. (SJM) $101.38 -2.51%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $95.36 +1.17%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS (KSE: 078935.KS - news) ) $168.33 +0.44%
JP Morgan Chase (Other OTC: JFTTL - news) & Co. (JPM) $56.31 +0.43%
Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT - news) . (CAT (Taiwan OTC: 4990.TWO - news) ) $85.57 +0.34%
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $132.96 +0.30%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $24.47 +0.20%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $39.21 -2.29%
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ - news) (JNJ) $91.16 -2.09%
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $82.30 -2.05%
Cisco Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: CSCO - news) . (CSCO) $20.51 -1.77%
Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE - news) . (PFE) $30.25 -1.31%
Merck & Co. Inc (Xetra: 6MK.DE - news) . (MRK) $48.32 -1.29%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $69.63 -1.26%
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $94.10 -1.22%
Visa Inc (NYSE: V - news) . (V) $203.44 -1.08%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM (NYSE: IBM - news) ) $173.37 -1.04%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Tesla Motors Inc (Xetra: A1CX3T - news) (TSLA) $147.47 +5.60%
Facebook Inc. (FB) $51.83 +4.96%
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $373.33 +2.57%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $65.36 +1.51%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NasdaqGS: REGN - news) . (REGN) $274.00 +1.47%
Fiserv Inc (NasdaqGS: FISV - news) . (FISV) $111.98 +1.44%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $78.86 +1.30%
Mylan Inc (NasdaqGS: MYL - news) . (MYL) $41.86 +1.06%
Charter Communications Inc (NasdaqGS: CHTR - news) . (CHTR) $131.99 +0.89%
Xilinx Inc (NasdaqGS: XLNX - news) . (XLNX) $43.41 +0.81%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) $81.99 -2.67%
Sandisk Corp. (SNDK) $65.58 -2.66%
Staples Inc (NasdaqGS: SPLS - news) . (SPLS) $15.51 -2.33%
Randgold Resources Ltd. Ads (GOLD (Other OTC: GDCWF - news) ) $63.81 -2.28%
Garmin Ltd (NasdaqGS: GRMN - news) . (GRMN) $47.12 -2.24%
Activision Blizzard Inc (NasdaqGS: ATVI - news) . (ATVI) $16.66 -2.06%
Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) $15.11 -1.95%
Discovery Communications Inc (NasdaqGS: DISCA - news) . Class A (DISCA) $82.94 -1.88%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $20.51 -1.77%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $61.59 -1.75%

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