Stocks continued their slump on Thursday, sending the benchmark S&P 500 to a four-month low and stretching its losing streak to five straight days.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,442.49, down 156.06 points, or 1.2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1,304.86, down 19.94 points, or 1.5 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,530.68, up 4.60 points.
For the S&P 500, the index has fallen a total of 8.1 per cent since hitting a near-term high in early April. Economically sensitive stocks, such as consumer discretionary, financials, materials and industrials, led the retreat on Thursday.
Conditions in Europe remain unsettled. An auction of Spanish bonds showed strong demand, but yields were higher than at recent auctions. And, of course, there is still a power vacuum in Greece, where recent elections failed to produce a government – raising concerns that the country will leave the euro zone.
In the United States, the latest batch of economic news was hardly uplifting. Initial jobless claims for the period ended last week came in at 370,000, slightly above expectations. And a reading of business conditions in the mid-Atlantic region contracted in May, which was well below economists’ expectations.
Canada’s S&P/TSX composite index was spared the latest decline, with help from materials stocks. Gold rebounded to $1,574.90 (U.S.) an ounce, up $38.30, after flirting with a bear-market decline in recent trading. Barrick Gold Corp., whose share price touched a 52-week low this week, rose 6.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, get ready for the arrival of Facebook Inc., the stock. The price was set at $38, giving the company a value of more than $100-billion. The shares start trading on Friday.