1:50 PM New York – U.S. stocks declined and struggled near the bottom of the session after weekly jobless claims rose and earnings from several companies failed to meet analyst estimates. UnitedHealth Group, American Express, Ebay and Morgan Stanley fell on quarterly results.
Stocks on Wall Street were lackluster and traded down after the latest string of earnings failed to inspire investors.
Weekly jobless claims in the last week increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000, slightly ahead of expectations.
In commodities trading, gold futures increased 0.8% to $1,394 an ounce and crude oil futures rebounded 0.7% to $87.32 a barrel.
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said today that its factory index decreased in April to 1.3 from 2 in March.
Any reading above zero signals expansion in the area spread between eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey.
The index of leading indicators unexpectedly declined in March for the first time in seven months, the Conference Board said.
The index tracked by the private research organization eased 0.1% in March after rising 0.5% in the prior two months.
Shares across Europe recovered, as investors stepped to take advantage of lower prices.
UK retail sales in March fell 0.7%, as Portugal agreed to slash spending by 0.5% of GDP.
The FTSE 100 index in London pared four-day losses to rebound 0.45% or 28.24 to 6,272.45 but miners dragged.
In Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.46% to 7,537.58 and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.89% or 32.16 to 3,631.39.
Stocks in Tokyo trading declined after the yen edged higher and trade deficit narrowed in March.
The yen strengthened to 97.58 against one dollar as the weakness in precious metals drove speculators to the U.S. dollar.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 162.82 or 1.2% to 13,220.07 and the broader Topix Index slumped 13.04 or 1.2% to 1,122.97.
Resource stocks in Australia plunged 5% after copper prices dropped to a low last seen in September 2011.
Stocks in Review
American Express (AXP
) gained 1.7% after earnings were ahead of expectations but revenues less than estimated by analysts.