NEW YORK -- A rare disappointing earnings report from JPMorgan Chase battered bank stocks Friday and helped push the rest of the market lower. Rumors of imminent downgrades for the credit ratings of European governments drove the euro down and sent investors streaming into U.S. debt.
Before the market opened, JPMorgan said its quarterly profit declined 23 percent from a year earlier, slightly worse than what analysts expected.
The euro slipped to its lowest level in 17 months after reports surfaced that S&P would downgrade European governments. After the markets closed in New York, S&P announced cuts for France, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Fund investors favored bonds over stocks in '11
BOSTON -- The stock market ended up going nowhere in 2011, and investors continued to hit the exits. For the fifth year in a row, they withdrew more cash from stock mutual funds than they put into them.
Industry consultant Strategic Insight said Friday that investors withdrew a net $85 billion from U.S. stock funds in 2011. There's been an outflow of money for eight consecutive months.
Bond funds attracted new cash, as they have since the financial crisis in 2008. Last year investors deposited a net $116 billion into bond funds.
U.S. trade deficit reverses course, widens for November
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months. The Commerce Department said Friday that the U.S. trade deficit increased 10.4 percent to $47.8 billion, the highest level since June.
Exports, which had hit a record high in September, dropped 0.9 percent in November to $177.8 billion. Fewer shipments of autos and capital goods, such as aircraft and machinery, were the key reason.
Imports rose 1.3 percent to a record $225.6 billion. A key reason for the rise was a spike in oil prices, which surged above $100 a barrel in November.
Lions Gate studio to buy maker of 'Twilight' films
LOS ANGELES -- Movie and TV studio Lions Gate Entertainment is buying Summit Entertainment, the maker of the teen smash hit "Twilight" series, for $412.5 million. The deal announced Friday brings together two studios hoping to create a powerhouse focused on young adult audiences.
The "Twilight" franchise has grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide since the first movie blew out of the gates in late 2008, and hordes of fans of the Stephenie Meyer books rushed to theaters.
The finale of the five-movie juggernaut, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2," is due out in November. Meanwhile Lions Gate is set to release its own series based on Suzanne Collins' young adult novels, "The Hunger Games," in March.
Combined, the studios hope to reap the benefits of selling to similar audiences.
Drug giant Novartis to cut 1,960 jobs in U.S.
GENEVA -- Swiss drug maker Novartis AG said Friday it will cut 1,960 U.S. jobs this year in anticipation of lower sales for two of its hypertension drugs. The cuts will affect 1,630 sales positions in the field and 330 posts at its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey.
The restructuring was necessary because of the expiration of its patent for the best-selling hypertension drug Diovan and the failure of a clinical study into another hypertension drug, Tekturna, Novartis said.