by Marc Bastow | January 31, 2013 4:49 pm
A fantastic January for U.S. stocks ended on a slightly sour note Thursday as concerns about the economy — sparked by a jump in jobless claims and nervousness over Friday’s monthly jobs report — hung on the major indices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average took the worst of it, declining 0.36% to 13,860.58. The S&P 500 fell 0.26% to 1,498.11, and the Nasdaq slid marginally to 3,142.13. For the month, the Dow Jones gained 5.8%, the S&P 500 improved 5% and the Nasdaq — weighed by a poor January for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — finished ahead 4%.
Earnings news ruled the majority of the day. Postal equipment maker Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) reached three-month highs after gaining more than 20% on an unexpected earnings beat and the announcement of cost-cutting measurements. Meanwhile, UPS (NYSE:UPS) headed the other way, falling just more than 2% after announcing fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of forecasts and issuing weak 2013 guidance.
PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) was unable to keep up its scorching run despite reporting a big increase in fourth-quarter earnings and a 27% improvement in new orders. However, a projected decline in community count hampered PHM shares, which lost more than 1%.
On the corporate front, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) cratered by 17% after the U.S. Department of Justice challenged Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s (NYSE:BUD) bid to buy out Mexico’s Grupo Modelo (PINK:GPMCF). That deal included a provision in which Constellation would buy out the remaining half of its Crown Imports joint venture with Grupo for $1.85 billion, giving it sole distribution rights for all of Grupo’s brands in the U.S. GPMCF and BUD shares fell by roughly 7% and 6%, respectively.
Lastly, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares dipped early but recovered to losses of less than 1% after reporting Street-beating Q4 earnings and sales, but slower-than-expected mobile and mobile revenue growth.
Earnings notables for Friday include energy sector giants Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), along with Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) and Newell-Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL).
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and XOM.
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