Weak durable goods data temper Dow
Thursday, March 29, 2012
US stocks were flat as a weaker- than-expected reading on durable goods orders offset hopes that high oil prices could fall, removing a headwind to the economic recovery.
US crude oil futures fell nearly 2 percent after a French newspaper reported several governments, including the United States, are considering the release of oil reserves to ease high prices at the pump, which are seen as an obstacle to an economic recovery.
New orders for US manufactured goods rose less than expected in February and a gauge of future business investment also missed forecasts, casting a shadow on the manufacturing sector’s support of the recovery.
“The miss in durable goods took the enthusiasm out of the market, since they’re usually seen as a signal of economic growth,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.21 points, or 0.01 percent in late morning trade.
Across the Atlantic, data showed Britain’s economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, raising the prospect of another recession.