Most U.S. Stocks Fall After Japan Earthquake, Drop in Consumer Confidence


Most U.S. Stocks Fall After Japan Earthquake, Drop in Consumer Confidence
By Rita Nazareth - Mar 11, 2011 5:05 PM GMT+0200 
Most U.S. stocks fell, joining a global equity retreat, following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan that was the nation’s largest on record and a decline in consumer companies after Americans’ confidence slipped.

Consumer companies led losses in the S&P 500 after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment fell to 68.2 in March from 77.5 in February. The gauge was projected to decline to 76.3, according to the median estimate of 68 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

More than three stocks fell for every two that rose on U.S. exchanges at 10 a.m. New York time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained less than 0.1 percent to 1,295.62, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 15.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,968.71. The S&P 500 has retreated 2 percent this week.

“There’s a bumper crop of uncertainty right now,” said David Kelly, who helps oversee $450 billion as chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds in New York. “There’s a heightened level of uncertainty about the Middle East, Europe and now Japan. The fundamentals suggest being overweight equities versus fixed income. However, with all this uncertainty, we don’t know how things will shake out over the next few weeks.” 
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-11/most-u-s-stocks-fall-after-japan-earthquake-drop-in-consumer-confidence.html 

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