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U.S. Stocks Retreat, S&P 500 Falls to Lowest Since March 2003

Elizabeth Stanton
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks fell and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated to the lowest level since March 2003 on a jump in jobless claims and a worsening outlook for industrial and technology companies.

General Electric Co. dropped below $15 for the first time since 1996 after Citigroup Inc. said the company faces earnings “headwinds.” Dell Inc., the second-biggest maker of personal computers, lost 14 percent as it was added to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s “conviction sell” list, while Intel Corp. slid 4.6 percent after saying demand was weaker across its product line.

The S&P 500 retreated 3.5 percent to 822.83 at 1:05 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 300.20 points, or 3.6 percent, to 7,982.46. Fifteen stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.



“In October business just stopped, and everyone is extrapolating that to the quarter and all of next year,” said Richard Campagna, who oversees $1 billion as chief investment officer of Provident Investment Counsel in Pasadena, California.

The market retreated after the Labor Department’s weekly tally of new claims for unemployment insurance benefits climbed by 32,000 to a larger-than-forecast 516,000. The total number of people on benefit rolls jumped to the highest level since 1983.

The four straight declines in the S&P 500 this week wiped out the index’s rebound from a five-year low on Oct. 27 and sent the benchmark for U.S. equities to a level not seen since the Iraq War began 5 1/2 years ago.