U.S. stocks fell Thursday as fears about a global economic slowdown and the steadily increasing drip, drip, drip of disappointing earnings reports and cautious guidance weighed on the market.
Market-makers continue to express concerns that global central banks appear to have no plans to stimulate economic activity despite lackluster growth, and even the latest weekly report showing a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits appears to have had no positive effect.
On the earnings side of the fence, grocer SuperValu (NYSE:SVU) was absolutely crushed, losing nearly half of its value (down 48% to be exact) after announcing top- and bottom-line numbers below expectations, a suspension of its dividend and rescinding original guidance for the remainder of the year. Caught up in the sector-selling mania were Safeway (NYSE:SWY), down 12.5%, and Kroger (NYSE:KR), which managed to hold its share price loss to under 4%. The industry is under intense pressure from competition across the board.
The broader market also suffered on the day, although a rally that started near noon made the pain bearable, as the Dow lost 0.25% to finish at 12,573, the S&P ended down 0.5% at 1,334, and the Nasdaq took first prize with a 0.75% loss to finish at 2,886.
Shares of Infosys (NASDAQ:INFY), an India-based provider of information-technology services, ended down just over 11% at three-year lows after delivering mixed results for its fiscal first quarter and joining the lackluster guidance crowd.
As seems to be the case, one company’s sorrows turned into sector woes, as Cognizant Technologies (NASDAQ:CTSH) lost just over 2%, while Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) all lost just over 1% for the day.
Similarly, the hotel sector saw investors checking out after Marriott (NYSE:MAR) reported lackluster earnings and revenue growth, and saw its stock price sink by over 6% on the news. Hyatt (NYSE:H) dropped 4.6% on the day, while InterContinental (NYSE:IHG) fell just over 3%.
Of course, the psychology works both ways, and after Merck (NYSE:MRK) got a nice afternoon pop of 4% to get to a 52-week high on news of a successful late-stage trial of its osteoporosis drug Odanacatib, pharmaceutical makers Pfizer (NYSE:PSE) and Teva (NYSE:TEVA) saw their shares rise over 1%.
The earnings calendar brings out one of the big guns, with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) reporting after today’s bell, while Friday’s lineup includes JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).
- Cheniere Energy (NYSEAMEX:LNG): Up 10.1% ($1.43) to $15.59
- Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST): Up 6.28% ($2.50) to $42.31
- Pandora Media (NYSE:P): Up 4.22% (42 cents) to $10.37
- Lexmark (NYSE:LXK): Down 7.53% ($1.98) to $24.31
- Progressive (NYSE:PGR): Down 4.96% ($1.02) to $19.53
- Arena Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:ARNA): Down 4.67% (52 cents) to $10.61
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.