by Marc Bastow | May 3, 2012 5:38 pm
After weeks of speculation and anticipation, Facebook set a price range of $28 to $35 per share for its initial public offering, tentatively set for May 18.
However Facebook’s news was not enough to slow the downward pace of the stock market. Investors threw up a “proceed with caution” sign early as a positive report on initial jobless claims was offset by a weaker-than-expected service sector report and nervousness about tomorrow’s Labor Department jobs release.
The result was an 0.47% loss on the Dow, down to 3,206, while the S&P lost 0.77% to 1,391, and the Nasdaq, where Facebook will eventually trade its shares, crumbled 1.16% to 3,204.
A decline in weekly initial jobs claims came in at 365,000, lower than an estimated 375,000, giving investors early hope for a rally. The Institute of Supply Management Services threw a wet blanket on the news, as its index showed the slowest services expansion of the year in April. Economist’s anticipate Friday’s Labor Department statistics to show 160,000 jobs added in April, an improvement from March, but below December through February.
On the earnings front, General Motors (NYSE:GM) earned less than one-third of what it took in last year, even with a big profit from its North American division as high costs and lower sales in Europe hurt first-quarter earnings. GM said it earned $1 billion, or 60 cents per share, compared with $3.2 billion, or $1.77 per share, a year earlier. GM shares finished down 2.4% at $22.39.
Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) reported second-quarter revenue rose 2% to $3.33 billion from $3.27 billion in the same quarter last year, while net income surged 56% to 98 cents on an adjusted basis, beating estimates for 89 cents. Viacom finished up 3.3% at $49.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) continued to get put through the grinder, falling another 48% on the day as short sellers and investors alike poured out of the stock after last night’s disastrous earnings report. GMCR finished at $25.87 but still was losing ground in after-hours trading.
The market takes an earnings breather tomorrow before picking up on Monday with Avis (NASDAQ:CAR), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), and Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) among the notables.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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