Late buying helped trim deep losses for stocks Thursday, although it was still not enough to keep the U.S. markets from posting their fifth down day in the six sessions since the Federal Reserve last week decided to keep interest rates unchanged near zero. More worries over global growth sent shares sharply lower again heading out of the gate but a moderate rebound for crude oil prices carried energy stocks higher while investor hopes that remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen later this afternoon at an academic conference could bring more clarity to her post-FOMC statements from last week.
Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar ( CAT ) ignited more worries over the global economy this morning when it cut its FY15 and FY16 forecasts and announced plans to fire as many as 5,000 employer by next year. The Dow component company finished with a 6% decline, weighing heavily on the blue-chip index, which finished nearly 0.5% lower today, lagging smaller declines for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indices.
Sluggish data on durable goods orders also kept global growth on the front burner, falling 2.0% during August, matching estimates, although the August figures excluding expensive transportation goods fell short of the consensus looking for a 0.3% gain.
A small rise in crude oil today to back near $45 per barrel had energy stocks trading higher by the closing bell, with shares of technology and consumer staple stocks also joining the afternoon rebound. Crude oil for November delivery settled 43 cents higher at $44.91 per barrel while November natural gas fell 4 cents to finish at $2.67 per 1 million BTU. December gold also rose, lifting mining stocks, adding $22.30 to settle at $1,130 per ounce.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 180.92 (-1.11%) to 16,098.97
S&P 500 down 18.58 (-0.96%) to 1,920.18
Nasdaq Composite Index down 53.80 (-1.13%) to 4,698.95
Hang Seng Index down 0.97%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.86%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.17%
(+) ACI, Extends deadline for debt exchange to Oct. 26. Through last night, noteholders representing $1.57 bln of debt have tendered existing notes for longer-term securities that will cut total debt and interest costs by 20%.
(+) BTU, Group of senior lenders hire Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm to protect asset value ahead of expected negotiations by the company to restructure $6.3 bln of its debt, Bloomberg reports, citing person with knowledge of the matter.
(+) VBLT, Extends rally to a fourth day ahead of medical conference in Europe this weekend where it will present data on its VB-111 drug candidate to treat various forms of cancer. Stock already climbed 73% since Sept. 17 announcement.
(-) SIEN, Tells plastic surgeon clients that British authorities have suspended the CE certificate for all medical devices made by its contract manufacturer, Silmed, according to a U.S regulatory filing today.
(-) PCO, Federal trial jury in Texas rules that five patents asserted by the company were valid but also deciding Google (GOOG,GOOGL) and Samsung did not infringe on them.
(-) WGBS, Amended S-1 offering document for its $34.5 mln mixed-securities offering details plans to offer 2,000 units of common stock and warrants and unspecified number of Class B units of Series 2 preferred stock and warrants.
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