US Stocks Slide; Yelp Jumps 60 Percent After IPO

By Salon Staff

Published March 2, 2012 6:36PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes crept lower Friday, putting the Dow Jones industrial average on track for a losing week for only the third time this year.

The Dow fell 48 points to 12,932 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. That's a loss of 0.4 percent. Caterpillar Inc. dropped 1.3 percent, the biggest fall among the 30 companies in the Dow.

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 7 points to 1,367. Sara Lee Corp. had the biggest gain in the index, up 6.2 percent, after saying its shareholders will get up to $4.5 billion in stock when it spins off its international coffee and tea business later this year.

The Nasdaq composite index dropped 17 points to 2,971.

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 2.5 percent to $106.09 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. Peabody Energy, Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Alpha Natural Resources Inc. sank 4 percent or more.

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 5 percent after trading resumed.

— Big Lots Inc. dropped 3.7 percent after the discount retail company lowered its earnings guidance below analysts' forecasts.

— Genesco Inc. gained 4.1 percent. The clothing company raised its 2013 earnings outlook above analysts' estimates. Genesco also reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations.

— CVR Energy Inc. fell 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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