Lackluster retail sales cause stocks to decline
NEW YORK — Wall Street gnawed on a muddle of economic data and corporate earnings news Thursday, then sent stock indexes lower for a second day in a row.
Disappointing April sales results from big retailers set the bleak tone early on. Costco, Macy’s and Target, among others, reported sales that were weaker than predicted.
The labor market has been on Wall Street’s mind because the government’s jobs report is due today. The final major indicator before that announcement was positive — the number of people applying for jobless benefits fell last week by the most in three months.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 61.98 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,206.59. The S&P 500 dropped 10.74, or 0.8 percent, to 1,391.57. The Nasdaq composite average slid 35.55, or 1.2 percent, to 3,024.30.
Facebook sets $28 to $35 price range for IPO
NEW YORK — Facebook has set a price range of $28 to $35 for its initial public offering of stock. At the high end, this could raise as much as $11.8 billion. If underwriters sell the extra stock reserved for overallotments, the IPO will value Facebook at $79.3 billion at the high end of the price range.
That’s much higher than any other Internet IPO in the past, even Google in 2004.
N. America boosts GM’s results as Europe slips
DETROIT — General Motors earned $1 billion in the first quarter as a strong performance in North America offset troubles in Europe.
The profit compared with a $3.2 billion gain a year earlier, when earnings were boosted by a onetime sale. Revenue rose 4 percent to $37.8 billion.
GM earned $1.7 billion before taxes in North America, where sales rose by 19,000 vehicles to 703,000. It lost $256 million before taxes in Europe.
Samsung unveils new phone to rival Apple’s
NEW YORK — Samsung Electronics’ latest Galaxy phone will have a high-definition touch screen that is nearly twice the size of the iPhone, while being thinner and lighter than Apple’s phone.
Samsung said the Galaxy S III will go on sale in the U.S. this summer.
The S III will run Google’s Android software, and added computing power will be put to use in expanded voice-command features. Samsung will sell a pad that charges a phone placed on it, with no need to connect a cable.
Samsung didn’t say which carriers would sell it, but the previous Galaxy model was sold by all national U.S. wireless carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
J.C. Penney names new chief financial officer
PLANO, Texas — J.C. Penney said Thursday it has hired a new chief financial officer as it tries to reshape its business. Ken Hannah will take over as CFO on Monday. Hannah, 43, was most recently president of solar energy at MEMC Electronic Materials. He has also worked at General Electric, Boeing and Home Depot.
Yahoo investor blasts CEO for college claim
NEW YORK — Yahoo investor Third Point, which is fighting for representation on the company’s board, Thursday criticized CEO Scott Thompson for inaccuracies in his educational record.
While Thompson lists a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stonehill College, the school didn’t begin offering such a degree until four years after he graduated, Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb said Thursday in an open letter to the board. Thompson has an accounting degree, Loeb said.
Yahoo called the discrepancy an “inadvertent error.”