US stocks sag but remain close to record highs

GMT 23:06 2015 Friday ,27 February

Arab Today, arab today US stocks sag but remain close to record highs

US stocks
New York - AFP

Wall Street stocks fell modestly Friday but remained close to record highs to close out the best single-month performance since 2011.
Stocks got help from a new estimate of fourth-quarter US economic growth that came in better than expected.
Despite shedding 6.24 points (0.30 percent) for the day, the broad based S&P 500 scored its best month since October 2011, putting on 5.5 percent, to end at 2,104.50.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 81.72 points (0.45 percent) at 18,132.70. And the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 24.36 (0.49 percent) to 4,963.53.
The official estimate of US growth in the October-December quarter was revised to 2.2 percent from the initial estimate of 2.6 percent.
A sharper cut had been expected by markets, and analysts said the figure suggested the economy is growing now at a respectable 3.0 percent pace or better.
Coca-Cola led gains in blue-chips, jumping 2.0 percent on the soaring profits of its soon-to-be energy drink partner Monster Beverages.
Monster shares soared 13.1 percent on a 65 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by a 12 percent gain in sales.
Coke signed a deal last August to purchase a 16.7 percent share in Monster, and that should close in the coming months. Monster shares have doubled since the deal was announced.
Clothing retailer The Gap surged 3.1 percent after the board of directors announced a dividend increase and added $1 billion to its share buyback program.
Gap, the owner of the Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, said its fourth-quarter earnings were up 10 percent from a year before, and slightly above forecasts.
The company forecast a fall in 2015 full-year earnings per share to $2.75-$2.80 compared with $2.87 in 2014, blaming challenging currency fluctuations and the impact of the three-month long West Coast ports strike that ended on Saturday.
Struggling retailer JC Penney sank 6.8 percent after surprising shareholders with a $59 million loss for the crucial year-end quarter. But Penney said sales were up 4.4 percent from a year earlier.
Herbalife, the embattled direct marketer of nutrition supplements, fell 10.9 percent after a fourth-quarter report that showed strong profits but lower-than-expected revenues.
Bond prices were marginally lower. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.00 percent from 1.99 percent Thursday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.60 percent from 2.59 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


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