(By Balachander) U.S. stocks extended its losing streak for a sixth consecutive day as concerns of a global economic slowdown negatively affecting corporate earnings weighed on the sentiment.
S&P 500 Index shed 0.50 percent to close at 1,334.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.25 percent to end at 12,573.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.75 percent to finish at 2,866.19.
Adding to the weakness was the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting released Wednesday that offered little indication towards more quantitative easing.
On the US economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits last week dropped significantly below expectations, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 26,000 to 350,000 for the week ended July 7 from a revised 376,000, while economists projected 372,000 applications.
Meanwhile, another official report showed that U.S. export and import prices fell 1.7 percent and 2.7 percent in June, while economists expected a 1.7 percent drop in import prices and a 0.2 percent fall in export prices. In May, export and import prices fell 0.4 percent and 1.2 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: SVU, MAR, PG, MRK, INFY, SAP, FAST, IMGN
In corporate news, Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU) plunged 48.96 percent after the grocery store chain suspended payment of dividend and announced a review of strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. Supervalu, which has been hit by tough competition and rising costs, also posted lower quarter results that trailed Wall Street projections.
Marriott International Inc. (NYSE:MAR) lost 6.44 percent after the lodging company posted a 6 percent drop in revenue that also trailed Wall Street expectations.
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE:PG) gained 3.75 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported that activist investor Bill Ackman has taken a stake in the consumer-products giant.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) gained 4.13 percent after the drugmaker plans to halt early a late-stage trial of its experimental osteoporosis treatment, citing positive results.
Infosys Ltd. (NASDAQ:INFY) reduced its revenue guidance for the year ending March 31 saying global economic uncertainty has hit IT spending. The India-based business and technology consulting company also posted weak results for the first quarter. U.S.-listed shares of Infosys slumped 11.16 percent.
SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) added 2.94 percent after the German enterprise application software company posted a rise in earnings for the second quarter as revenue jumped spurred by double-digit growth in all regions.
Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ:FAST) jumped 6.28 percent after the seller of industrial and construction supplies posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly earnings, helped by jump in sales.
ImmunoGen Inc. (NASDAQ:IMGN) tumbled 7.78 percent after the developer of antibody-based anticancer therapeutics announced public offering of 6.25 million shares at $16 apiece, a 7.8 percent discount to previous close.
Callaway Golf Co. (NYSE:ELY) declined 3.53 percent after the designer of golf accessories announced 12 percent job cuts and warned of full year results.
European markets closed on a lower note, with Germany's DAX down 0.53 percent to close at 6,419.35. France's CAC40 shed 0.70 percent to finish at 3,135.18. U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.99 percent to end at 5,608.25.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index advanced 0.46 percent to close at 2,185.34. Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 1.48 percent to end at 8,720.01. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 2.03 percent to end at 19,025.11. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,386.73, down 0.25 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures inched up 0.21 percent to $85.99 per barrel and natural gas futures gained 0.84 percent to $2.877 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.12 percent to $1,556.00 per ounce and silver futures added 0.93 percent to $27.275 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dipped 0.30 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2202. The British pound dropped 0.45 percent against the greenback to 1.5432, and the dollar fell 0.59 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.2900.