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Stock Market News for May 14, 2012

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Markets experienced another gloomy day on Friday as JPMorgan Chase disclosed it had suffered a $2 billion trading loss in a span of only six weeks. The financials bore the brunt and dragged the benchmarks along, also ensuring weekly losses for them. Separately, a couple of good economic reports could hardly make any impact against the strong headwinds of the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed 0.3% lower at 12,820.60. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) also dropped 0.3% to end Friday’s trading session at 1,353.39. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was helped by some good news from the tech sector, and it moved up 0.01% to end at 2,933.82. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained 5.6% and settled at 19.89. The advancers were outshined by the declining stocks on the New York Stock Exchange; as for 39% of advancers, 58% stocks moved down. The remaining 3% stocks were left unchanged. Total volumes on the NYSE were at 3.87 billion shares.

Late Thursday financial bellwether JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) disclosed that the bank has suffered pre-tax trading losses worth $2 billion. This loss was due to synthetic credit positions or the over-the-counter derivatives, which however was offset by credit-related position sales of $1 billion. Nonetheless, the company suffered a humongous loss and stated that it expects to incur an after-tax loss of $800 million in the corporate segment during the next quarter.

Following this development, investors were wary of the stock on Friday and it received a heavy battering. JPMorgan’ stocks plunged 9.3% on Friday. The broader financial sector was also not spared and the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and the KBW Bank Index (BKX) suffering a downtrend of 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively. Among other financial stocks, Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C), The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) plunged 4.2%, 3.9%, 4.2% and 4.3%, respectively.

Coming to technology stocks, some good news helped the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) chalk up gains of 0.1%. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) came out with an announcement that it is well en route to meet its sales expectations. This gave a huge boost to investors in the tech sphere. Intel shares rose 1.4%, joined by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) that also gained 1.4%. NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) also lent significant support to the technology arena, as its shares jumped 6.4% after it topped revenue estimates. Other stocks like SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ:SNDK), Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ:BRCM) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL) gained 0.3%, 1.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

Economic data too was on the positive side, but not strong enough to prevent the markets from closing in the red. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods eased 0.2% in April, and this fall was in line with consensus estimates. This was the first decline since December last year and the biggest since 0.3% fall in October. Starting January, the PPI index had trended higher with January and February registering gains of 0.2% and 0.45, respectively. The index remained flat in March. Separately, The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment’s preliminary index moved up from 76.4 to 77.8, the highest level since January 2008.

However, these reports did the markets little good. Technology shares helped Nasdaq end in the green with negligible gains. However, the Nasdaq had to join the other benchmarks in negative territory for the week. The changing political scenario in Europe had left investors wondering worried about the region’s fiscal health, dragging down US benchmarks. Greece continued to struggle to form a government increasing its chances of exiting the euro. Eventually, the benchmarks had a rough run through the week. In what was one of the Dow’s worst weekly performances this year, it ended 1.7% lower, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq dropped 1.2% and 0.8%.

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