The Closing Bell | Stocks dip as job market worries continue
What began with a steep drop in the stock market ended with a modest decline Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost just 60 points after being down nearly 240 points earlier in the day.
A jump in the number of people applying for jobless benefits and plummeting oil prices drove stocks lower at the market open.
By 11 a.m., the Dow was down 234 points. Then came late afternoon reports that Greece may have reached a deal for a new austerity plan. The Dow made up nearly 100 points between 2:45 and 3 p.m. alone.
The Dow finished with a loss of 59.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,050. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, down as many as 24 points, closed down just 3.64, or 0.3 percent, to 1,283.50.
Since late April, reports on manufacturing, retail sales, home sales and other economic indicators have come in weaker than economists anticipated. Europe's debt problems and a slowing growth rate in China have also raised concerns about the global economy. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said problems plaguing the economy may last longer than previously thought.
As a result, the stock market has fallen six of the last seven weeks. The S&P 500 is down 5.9 percent from its high for the year of 1363.61 in April.
This is no longer looking like a small soft patch. It's beginning to look more like quicksand, said Lawrence Creatura, a stock portfolio manager at Federated Investors.
The continued rise in first-time claims for unemployment benefits indicated little improvement in the job market since May, when there was a drop in the number of new jobs created. New applications for unemployment benefits rose to 429,000 last week, from 420,000 the week before.
Four hundred thousand is the magic number, and we've been above it for 11 weeks, Creatura said.
Energy companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp. led the market downward after oil prices tumbled nearly 5 percent. Oil dropped after the International Energy Agency said 60 million barrels of oil would be released from reserves to make up for the loss of Libyan exports. Oil prices had spiked following unrests in Middle East and North Africa, raising concerns that higher fuel costs would slow the world economy.
The KansasCity.com Regional Stocks index fell 1.71, or 0.25%, to 680.02.
BATS 1000 fell 41.78 points, or 0.28%, to close at 14,714.69.
Capitol Federal Financial fell 22 cents, or 1.83%, to close at $11.77.
Cerner Corp. fell 81 cents, or 0.69%, to close at $116.85.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. fell 40 cents, or 0.96%, to close at $41.39.
Compass Minerals fell $1.03, or 1.21%, to close at $84.06.
DST Systems Inc. fell $1.08, or 2.09%, to close at $50.70.
Garmin Ltd. rose 4 cents, or 0.12%, to close at $34.01.
Great Plains Energy fell 21 cents, or 1.01%, to close at $20.55.
H&R Block Inc. rose 1 cents, or 0.06%, to close at $16.07.
Inergy L.P. fell 12 cents, or 0.34%, to close at $35.34.
Kansas City Southern rose 13 cents, or 0.23%, to close at $56.00.
Sprint Nextel Corp. fell 6 cents, or 1.17%, to close at $5.06.
UMB Financial Corp. fell 67 cents, or 1.65%, to close at $40.03.
Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. fell 21 cents, or 0.59%, to close at $35.39.
YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 18 cents, or 23.78%, to close at $0.94.
Compiled from staff and news reports