A street sign is erected in front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, March 5, 2009. U.S. stocks tumbled with all major indexes losing more than 4 percent on Thursday as market speculated that General Motors Corp. may face bankruptcy and financial shares sank on downgrading worries. (Xinhua/Liu Xin) Photo Gallery>>>
NEW YORK, Mar. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks tumbled with all major indexes losing more than 4 percent on Thursday as market speculated that General Motors Corp. may face bankruptcy and financial shares sank on downgrading worries.
In a report released Thursday, auditors of General Motors have raised "substantial doubt" about the troubled automaker's ability to continue operations, and the company said it may have to seek bankruptcy protection if it can't execute a huge restructuring plan.
Financial shares led the way down. Moody's warned that it would downgrade the credit ratings for Wells Fargo and Bank of America Corp. Wells Fargo shares plunged 15.94 percent and Bank of America tumbled 11.70 percent.
Moreover, shares of Citigroup, once the world's most valuable bank, plummeted below 1 dollar on Thursday, as investors continued to worry about the bank's health and ability to avert nationalization.
The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, fell at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, worse than economists' expectations.
Another government report showed that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit dropped more than expected last week. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of new jobless benefit application fell to 639,000 from the previous week's figure of 670,000. Analysts expected a smaller drop to 650,000.
Meanwhile, retail sales improved in February with discounted chain store like Wal-Mart gaining far more than analysts had expected.
The Dow Jones average fell 281.40, or 4.1 percent, to 6,594.44. The S&P 500 index dropped 32.95, or 4.6 percent, to 679.92, the lowest since Oct. 1996. The Nasdaq composite index fell 54.15, or 4 percent, to 1,299.59.
WASHINGTON, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Economic conditions in the United States deteriorated further during the past six weeks, the Federal Reserve (Fed) said Wednesday.
Ten of the 12 Fed districts reported weaker conditions or declines in economic activity since the last survey, which was released on Jan. 14, the Fed said in the latest survey on business conditions around the nation, known as Beige Book. Full story
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- New orders for manufactured goods to factories in the United States dropped by 1.9 percent in January, marking a record sixth straight monthly decline, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
But the January drop was smaller than the 3.5 percent fall that economists had expected and the 4.9 percent plunge in December 2008. Full story
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Productivity in the U.S. non-farm business sector fell at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, instead of a 3.2 percent gain estimated a month ago, according to revised data released on Thursday by the Labor Department.
The fourth-quarter reading for productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, was far weaker than the 1.5 percent increase that economists had expected and the 2.2 percent gain in the third quarter. Full story
BRUSSELS, Mar. 5 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission called on Thursday for a crisis meeting among European Union (EU) countries with General Motors factories to coordinate their response to the U.S. carmaker's crisis.
"Member states where we have GM sites in Europe should hold an extraordinary meeting and reflect on the way we want to react," EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said after a scheduled meeting of EU industry ministers in Brussels. Full story