US stocks drift lower on European debt worries

Published April 5, 2012 2:27PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slipped early Thursday on renewed fears over the European debt crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 28 points to 13,047 in the first-half hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2 points to 1,397. The Nasdaq composite dropped a point to 3,067.

The slide follows broad declines in European stocks. Britain's FT-SE index fell 1 percent, Germany's DAX 0.3 percent.

Spain has become the latest point of concern in Europe's debt crisis. Investors are concerned over the ability of the country's government to push through cost-cutting programs at a time when its economy is heading for another recession.

Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds rose 0.08 percentage point to 5.74 percent, a sign that investors are less confident in the country's finances.

Six of the ten sectors in the S&P 500 index fell. Telecommunication companies fell the most, 1.8 percent.

Constellation Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company, plunged 13 percent, the most in the S&P 500. The company's forecast for 2013 earnings was well below what analysts were expecting.

Bed Bath & Beyond jumped 7.2 percent, the most in the S&P 500, after the retailer reported a 25 percent surge in fourth-quarter profit, far more than analysts were forecasting. Sales at stores open for at least a year jumped 6.8 percent, well above Wall Street's estimate of 3.8 percent.

Also Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people seeking jobless benefits fell to a four week low.

By Salon Staff

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