US Stocks Slide; Yelp Jumps 60 Percent After IPO

By Salon Staff

Published March 2, 2012 5:18PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes crept lower in midday trading Friday, putting the Dow Jones industrial average on track for its first weekly loss following two weeks of gains.

The Dow fell 12 points to 12,967 shortly after noon Eastern time.

Yelp Inc. jumped more than 60 percent on its first day of trading. The online review site's initial public offering valued the company at $900 million.

In other trading, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4 points to 1,369. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 8 points to 2,980.

Both the Dow and Nasdaq are trading below milestones hit earlier this week. The Dow closed above 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May 19, 2008. The Nasdaq composite index broke the 3,000 level on Wednesday for the first time since 2001.

These round numbers mean little to professional investors, said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis at Charles Schwab. But the media attention they generate may lure Americans back into the stock market, he said, and their savings could push indexes even higher.

"We're a little more surprised there isn't more enthusiasm given the run we've had over the last couple of months," Sorensen said. "The individual retail investor has been reluctant to participate, but we're looking to them to fuel the next leg of this rally."

The S&P 500 index gained 8.6 percent in the first two months of this year, its best start since 1987. But Americans still pulled a total of $3.9 billion from U.S. stock funds over those two months, according to data from the Investment Company Institute. Most of their savings are going into taxable bond funds.

Oil fell 2 percent to $106.65 a barrel after Iranian media reported an explosion at a Saudi Arabia pipeline. Saudi Arabia denied the report. Oil and gas stocks had some of the steepest drops in the S&P 500 index. Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Peabody Energy and Anadarko Petroleum Corp dropped by more than 3 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Trading in Wynn Resorts Ltd. was briefly halted after a regulatory filing was mistakenly made. The erroneous report said Wynn had made progress on a new resort in Macau, a gambling hub. Wynn Resorts was still up 6 percent after trading resumed, about as high as it was when the halt occurred.

— Sara Lee Corp. jumped 6 percent. The food company said its shareholders will get up to $4.5 billion in stock when it spins off its international coffee and tea business later this year.

— Genesco Inc. gained 4.2 percent. The clothing company raised its 2013 earnings outlook above analysts' estimates. Genesco also reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations.

— CVR Energy Inc. fell less than 1 percent after the Texas oil refiner rejected a $2.6 billion hostile takeover bid from the billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Salon Staff

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