Stocks sink as economic outlook dims; Dow off 139
NEW YORK (AP) — Signs of a slowing economy are proving to be a drag on the stock market. Even the prospect of continued stimulus from the Federal Reserve isn't helping.
Major market indexes fell by 0.9 percent, their worst decline in two weeks. Small-company stocks fell even more, 2.5 percent, as investors shunned risk. The yield on the benchmark U.S. government bond fell to its lowest of the year as investors sought safety.
Stocks opened lower and kept sagging throughout the day, hurt by reports of a slowdown in hiring and manufacturing last month. Discouraging earnings news from major U.S. companies also dragged the market lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down nearly 139 points to 14,701.
The S&P 500, a broader market measure, dropped nearly 15 points to 1,583.
The Nasdaq composite index dropped 29 ½ points to 3,299. The Russell 2000 index, a gauge of small-company stocks, fell 23 points to 924.
Asian stock markets fall after US, China manufacturing growth show a slower pace for April
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets have been falling today after U.S. and Chinese data pointed to slower growth in the world's two biggest economies.
Analysts are concerned about a buildup of disappointing data emerging from the two countries seen as critical to powering a global recovery. The latest alarm bells rang out of Washington on Wednesday with the release of employment and manufacturing growth that failed to live up to expectations. That sent Wall Street stocks sharply lower.
Asian equity markets followed suit. Japan's Nikkei led the slide, falling 0.8 percent.
The price of oil has stabilized near $91 per barrel. Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 17 cents to $91.20 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Economic and business reports scheduled for today
UNDATED (AP) — Government reports due ought today could have a major impact on the stock market.
The Labor Department releases the weekly jobless claims this morning as well as first-quarter productivity data. Also, the government reports on the U.S. trade deficit for March.
Mortgage-giant Freddie Mac releases mortgage rates for this week.
Some major companies will report their quarterly financial results. They include GM, Kraft Foods and cereal-maker Kellogg. On the energy side, Royal Dutch Shell reports.
In Slovakia, The European Central Bank's governing council meets to set monetary policy for the Eurozone.
Visa's fiscal 2Q net income slips nearly 2 pct.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Visa Inc. says its net income slipped nearly 2 percent in the first three months of this year from a year earlier, when the company benefited from an adjustment to its income tax provision.
But the payments processing company reported growth in service and data processing revenue, as well as international transactions.
The Foster City, Calif., company said its fiscal second-quarter net income totaled $1.27 billion, or $1.92 per share.
That compares with net income of $1.29 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the same period last year.
Revenue grew nearly 15 percent to $2.96 billion from $2.58 billion a year earlier.
Those numbers beat most forecasts.
Shares rose $2.98, or 2 percent, to $169 in after-hours trading.
Ford adding 2,000 workers to Missouri plant
DETROIT (AP) — Ford is adding 2,000 workers at a Missouri plant to keep up with surging demand for pickup trucks.
The company said Thursday it will add another shift with 900 workers in the third quarter of this year. That's on top of 1,100 workers it's adding in the fourth quarter to build its new Transit van.
The plant, which is just outside Kansas City in Claycomo, already has 2,450 workers on two shifts.
Ford's pickup sales are up 19 percent this year as home builders and other construction workers replace trucks they held onto during the recession.
The F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., with more than 228,000 sold through April.
Ford Motor Co. plans to bring back 1,000 laid-off workers and hire 1,000 new ones.
CHINA BUS COMPANY
1st Chinese automaker in US to open Calif. Plants
LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — The first Chinese-owned vehicle manufacturer in the United States has unveiled ambitious plans to build as many as 1,000 electric buses a year at a refurbished RV manufacturing plant in the Mojave Desert.
At a news conference at its new facility Wednesday, BYD officials said the plant should produce the first 10 of its plug-in buses next year.
BYD hopes to be rolling out 50 a year within two years. It aims to be running the plant at full capacity, 1,000 buses a year, within 10 to 20 years.
The buses will be powered by BYD's own rechargeable batteries.
BYD senior vice president Stella Li says the endeavor represents more than a $10 million investment in Lancaster.
She says the plant should eventually employ about 1,000 people.
ING US-IPO PRICING
ING US prices IPO below range at $19.50 per share
NEW YORK (AP) — ING U.S. Inc. says 65.2 million shares of the company will be sold for $19.50 each, raising about $1.3 billion in one of the year's biggest initial public offerings.
The per-share price is below an expected range of $21 to $24, but the offering's size is above the estimated 64.2 million shares.
ING U.S. is part of Dutch financial services provider ING Groep NV. The parent company is selling a minority stake in ING US as part of compensation measures demanded by the European Commission after ING received a bailout from the Dutch government in 2008.
ING U.S., with insurance, investment and retirement businesses, will rebrand itself as Voya Financial next year.
The shares are set to trade Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "VOYA."
Tablets with Windows RT see slow sales, IDC says
NEW YORK (AP) — A research firm says Microsoft is seeing slow sales of a version of Windows designed for thin and light tablets, even as the tablet market as a whole is growing.
Researchers at IDC say manufacturers shipped 200,000 tablets running Windows RT, the special version of Windows for iPad-style tablets, in the January to March period. That's down from about 900,000 shipped in the fourth quarter.
Microsoft launched Windows RT in October, along with the Surface tablet. The software runs on a few tablets from other manufacturers as well.
Microsoft's larger Surface Pro tablets, which run standard Windows 8, did better. IDC didn't specify how many, but it's at least 700,000 based on the figures provided.
Meanwhile, the global tablet market more than doubled to 49.2 million units.
CONDE NAST-WEB SERIES
Conde Nast launches Vogue, Wired video programming
NEW YORK (AP) — Conde Nast is launching a slate of Web series inspired by its the fashion magazine Vogue and the technology monthly Wired.
The media company announced the new digital programming in a presentation to advertisers on Wednesday. The Vogue- and Wired-inspired shows follow similar digital video initiatives for Conde Nast's Glamour and GQ.
Amid dwindling print profits, the venerable publisher has been seeking to capitalize on its popular stable of magazines. It recently formed the Conde Nast Entertainment division to develop digital video, TV shows and films that trade on the brands of its magazines.
Conde Nast said Wednesday it's adding a total of 30 new lifestyle series based on Vogue, Wired, Glamour and GQ.
Judge halts NYC taxi e-hailing a day after launch
NEW YORK (AP) — Hailing yellow cabs with smartphone apps is on hold in New York City just days after the experimental service began.
An appeals judge agreed Wednesday to bar e-hailing, at least temporarily. A panel of judges is expected to weigh the case later this month.
A lawyer for e-hail opponents says they're gratified and calls the program "fundamentally flawed" and illegal.
But Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky says the apps are "perfectly legal" and good for riders.
In December, the city OK'd a year-long test. Car service owners sued, saying it's unfair to them because they rely on pre-arranged fares and it's too broad to qualify as a test program.
A judge dismissed their lawsuit last week. They then went to the appellate court.
Uber Technologies launched an e-hail service Tuesday.