Published On: Thu, May 23rd, 2013

US Indices register small losses across the board

Markets in the US resisted the chance to slip into big declines today after the Nikkei slid by 7.3 percent and Europe followed suit with large declines across the board. Ben Bernanke’s comments to the Joint Economic Committee were still weighing on the minds of investors which added to the fresh woes in Asia, encouraging early declines.

China released its first decline in manufacturing for seven months, spurring concerns over the truth strength of the economic situation in Asia after the Nikkei recorded its biggest single day loss since the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. The data hit miners and those who depend on the sector for revenue heavily due to concerns for future demand.

It took a rally from PC maker Hewlett-Packard to drag the index back to a respectable position after it announced that it had raised its forecast for the year following better-than-expected results for the quarter. The home PC market is currently in the middle of a global slowdown, with sales plummeting as consumers are reluctant to upgrade their computers in favour of sticking with their slightly older models, so the announcement was a welcome surprise for investors.

At a point in the day where positive news was little and far between, investors were quick to jump onto the Hewlett-Packard bandwagon, inspiring a rise of $3.63, or 17.10 percent, to $24.86 — a 12 month high.

Fashion designer Ralph Lauren saw declines of 2.3 percent on the back of worse-than-expected earnings for the quarter. The announcement was expected as luxury goods retailers across the globe continue to see poor retail returns, as evident by Burberry’s declines in London earlier this week.

Positive house and jobless data also aided the markets, with Jobless claims falling by 24,000 for the month. New house sales were up by 2.3 percent, along with house prices which increased by 1.9 percent. All 3 individual pieces of data would be seen as signals of solid economic growth under normal circumstances, so the trio combined most certainly helped the markets to avoid a sharp decline.

At the bell the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 0.1 percent, a decline that was mirrored by the NASDAQ. The broader S&P 500 was down by 0.3 percent.

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- Gregory previously worked for a leading financial news publication and is now assistant news editor of