Stocks slumped on Thursday, ending the S&P 500’s six-day winning streak, following a lacklustre U.S. retail sales report and a lack of progress in budget talks.
The S&P 500 closed at 1419.45, down 9.03 points or 0.6 per cent – ending a streak that had sent the index up about 21 points or 1.5 per cent over the previous six sessions. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,170.72, down 74.73 points or 0.6 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,289.17, down 63.92 points or 0.5 per cent.
The news wasn’t all bad. In Europe, leaders agreed to make the European Central Bank the top banking supervisor within the union, which is seen as an important move in taming the debt crisis.
Initial jobless claims for last week fell by 29,000, to 343,000 – which was a little better than what economists had been expecting.
U.S. retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in November, improving over the 0.3 per cent decline in October but less than some on the Street were anticipating.
However, budget negotiations between Republicans and Democrats continue to show no signs of progress, even as the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases and spending cuts looms at the end of the year. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said that the White House is not serious about cutting spending.
Canadian commodity producers were hit by key commodities. Gold fell to $1,696.80 (U.S.) an ounce, down $21.10. Crude oil fell to $85.89 a barrel, down 88 cents. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.6 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 2 per cent.
EnCana Corp. rose 2 per cent after it struck an agreement with China’s state-owned energy company, PetroChina, to develop the Duvernay natural gas play
Research In Motion Ltd. continued its winning streak, rising 3.7 per cent. The latest gain followed news that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will test the new BlackBerry 10, easing concerns that institutional clients are abandoning BlackBerry devices. From its low in September, RIM shares have now rebounded 123 per cent.
Apple Inc. fell 1.7 per cent and Google Inc. rose 0.7 per cent after the latter released its Google Maps as an application for the Apple iPhone. About three months ago, Apple replaced Google Maps on the iPhone’s built-in navigation system.