US stocks decline on China growth fears, Treasuries fall as services index jumps

(March 5th, 2012)US stocks ended down Monday despite recovering earlier lost ground after investors saw reason for concern in the economy’s services sector, and China lowered its annual growth target.  A survey showing shrinking European growth activity also weighed on the US Markets.

Aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. (AA) led today’s fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lost 14.76 points, or 0.1 percent to close at 12,962.81.  Alcoa shed 3.6 percent as the market sold off shares in the company due to worries about lower demand from China.  16 of the 30 components in the Dow finished in the red today. The S&P 500 (SPX) shed 5.3 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,364.33 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite lost 25.71 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,950.48 as heavyweights Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) Corp. and Google Inc (GOOG) were all down on the day.

Treasuries fell after reading of US service industries’ index rose fastest in a year, reinforcing hopes of economic recovery. Also Greece announcing that it expects private bond-holders to accept a debt-swap helped. Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds moved up four basis points to 3.14 percent.

The US 10-year added 3 basis points, or 0.03 percent, to end at 2 percent today. After closing at 1.97 on Friday, it fell to 1.96 percent in early trade today. The 2-percent security maturing in Feb. 2022 dropped $2.50 per $1000 face amount. The iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) shed 1.09 points, or 0.79 percent, for the day while the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) lost 0.17 points, or 0.20 percent over Friday.

Prices of IBM (IBM) hit an all-time high over $200 after Citigroup announced it is exploring new application for its supercomputer Watson. BP (BP) shares rose after the British oil giant gave a $7.8 billion estimate for settling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Social media company Yelp retreated by more than 14 percent after jumping 64 percent on Debut Friday. Apple (AAPL) stocks shed two percent ahead of the company’s iPad announcement on Wednesday.

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