Stocks fell as headlines out of Ukraine and Russia indicated that the situation in Eastern Ukraine escalated significantly, as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russian troops have advanced across the border. The decline in stocks also marks the first time this week that the S&P 500 did not make an all-time high.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,082.37, -39.6, (-0.2%)
- S&P 500: 1,996.41, -3.7, (-0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,557.35, -12.2, (-0.3%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
1. The second estimate for second quarter GDP showed the economy grew 4.2% in the quarter, up from the 4% first estimated by the BEA last month. This topped the 3.9% that was expected by economists. One of the most encouraging parts of the report was the 8.4% increase in nonresidential fixed investment, which is seen as a proxy for business spending. This increase suggests “that businesses began to put cash to work in Q2 as the US economy rebounded from the early-year growth stumble,” said TD Securities’ Gennadiy Goldberg.
2. Weekly initial jobless claims came in at 298,000, topping the 300,000 that was expected by economists. Following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said, “In one line: Favourable claims trend signals strong payrolls.” Shepherdson said the report is consistent with his projection for nonfarm payrolls to jump 250,000 in August. That report is due out next Friday.
3. Pending home sales jumped 3.3% in July, rebounding after a 1.3% decline in June. This also topped the 0.5% increase expected by economists. “Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 2012,” said Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors.
4. In an interview with Bloomberg’s Betty Liu, outgoing AIG CEO Bob Benmosche disclosed that he accelerated his retirement due to his deteriorating health. Benmosche told Liu that his cancer has worsened, and he has nine months to a year left to live.
5. RadioShack shares surged on Thursday, bringing their weekly gains to more than 100% after a report by Bloomberg’s Jodi Xu and Lauren Coleman-Lochner said that hedge fund Standard General increased its stake in the troubled retailer and is in talks to raise cash to prevent bankruptcy.
6. Abercrombie & Fitch shares fell more than 5% as sales continue to slow at the teen retailer, prompting the company to make a big change to its clothing lineup: no more logos.
7. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas again published a note warning on the growing number of subprime auto loans. In his note on Thursday, Jonas published a conversation he had with an Ohio Chevy dealer, who said that the length of auto loans has increased to 72 months and noted that there has been a marked increase in subprime lease loans. This follows a June note from Jonas that warned on the same topic.
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