The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

June 28, 2012

Bank stocks lead a broad decline on Wall Street

NEW YORK — Bank stocks led a broad decline in early trading on Wall Street Thursday. JPMorgan Chase fell sharply after The New York Times reported that its trading loss could be $9 billion, much larger than the bank has acknowledged.

Hospital stocks moved sharply higher after reports that that the Supreme Court upheld the part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law that requires Americans to have health insurance. HCA Holdings soared $2.74 to $29.35, an increase of 10 percent, in heavy trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 104 points to 12,520 in the first half-hour of trading. The early slump wiped out the Dow’s gain for the week.

JPMorgan fell the most of the 30 stocks in the Dow average after the Times reported that its loss from a complex trade that went wrong could swell. The bank had said previously the loss was $2 billion but could get larger. JPMorgan lost $1.26, 3 percent, to $35.32.

Investors were also punishing bank stocks because British regulators escalated their inquiry into the manipulation of a key interest rate. Citigroup, Britain’s HSBC, Switzerland’s UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland were also named by British regulators in the probe. Barclays Bank of Britain has already been fined $453 million for manipulating the benchmark interest rate to its advantage between 2005 and 2009.

The U.S.-listed shares of Barclays plunged 15 percent, giving up $1.84 to $10.49. UBS lost 50 cents to $11.02 and Citigroup fell 50 cents to $26.58.

Bank stocks fell the most of the 10 industries tracked by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. All 10 indexes were down.

There was little for investors to like in new reports on the U.S. economy.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the January-March quarter, according to a new government estimate. Consumer spending, which accounts for a huge part of the economy, grew 2.5 percent, below the previous 2.7 percent estimate. The four-week average of applications for unemployment benefits didn’t decline, a sign that layoffs aren’t easing.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell nine points to 1,322 and the Nasdaq composite was off 26 points at 2,848.

News Corp. fell 1 percent after the media conglomerate said it would separate its publishing and entertainment businesses into two public companies. The stock or Rupert Murdoch’s sprawling media empire, which includes The Wall Street Journal, the Fox TV network, Fox News Channel and newspapers in Australia and Britain, gave up 35 cents to $21.96.

 

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Poll

In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
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