Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
JUNE 8, 2011, 11:32 A.M. ET
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–U.S. stocks dropped slightly Wednesday morning as concerns over the outlook for the U.S. economy left the market in danger of a sixth straight loss.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8 points, or 0.07%, to 12062 in late morning trade. Cisco Systems dropped 1.6% to lead decliners and Alcoa was also weak, shedding 1.3%.
Exxon Mobil helped keep the losses in check, rising 1.6% after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said members were unable to reach a consensus to boost oil production. Investors had been anticipating a deal that could have eased the last few months’ upward pressure on oil prices.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index lost two points, or 0.1%, to 1283, as materials and technology stocks dropped. Gains in the energy sector helped stem the losses. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 14 points, or 0.5%, to 2687.
A Tuesday market rally lost steam in the final minutes of the session as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy was growing more slowly than expected. The action threatens to send the Dow to its longest losing streak since last July.
Investors will get another read on the economy after the Fed releases its “beige book” of regional economic conditions at 2 p.m. EDT.
“There’s concern about the global economic slowdown. The primary worry is [that this is] a lot like what we saw in the summer of 2010,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive at Sarhan Capital in New York. That period saw a series of weak economic numbers and the end of the first round of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying efforts, known as quantititative easing. The second round of bond buying is slated to conclude at the end of this month.
In corporate news, Ciena slumped 13% after the networking-equipment company reported a wider-than-expected fiscal second-quarter loss.
Meanwhile, Prudential Financial lost 0.1% despite the life-insurance and financial-services firm’s newly announced $1.5 billion stock buyback program.
Citigroup plans to sell a portfolio of assets to AXA’s private-equity arm for $1.7 billion. The bank’s shares edged up 0.4%.
Crude-oil futures rose near $101 a barrel in the wake of the OPEC meeting. Gold futures slid to $1,539 an ounce. The U.S. dollar fell against the yen but rose versus the euro.
-By Brendan Conway, Dow Jones Newswires; (212) 416-2670; firstname.lastname@example.org