U.S. Stocks Retreat


U.S. stocks fell for the fourth straight week, capping the market’s worst January retreat, after companies from Procter & Gamble Co. to Caterpillar Inc. and Allstate Corp. reported earnings that trailed estimates.

P&G, the largest consumer-products maker, declined to a 2 1/2-year low after revenue dropped more than analysts forecast. Caterpillar, the biggest maker of bulldozers and excavators, had its steepest weekly slump since October after announcing 20,000 job cuts because of the recession. Allstate plunged 19 percent following investment losses that caused the home and auto insurer’s first unprofitable year as a public company.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.7 percent to 825.88 since Jan. 23, giving the measure an 8.6 percent decline in January. Its four-week losing streak is the longest since July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 76.70 points to 8,000.86, driving its monthly loss to 8.8 percent.

The decline leaves the S&P 500 only 9.8 percent higher than the 11-year low of 752.44 reached on Nov. 20. The main benchmark for American equities had rebounded 24 percent through Jan. 6 on optimism lower interest rates and government spending would restore profit growth.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
2/1/2009 9:04:06 AM