S&P 500 Posts Biggest Weekly Loss Since 2012

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Markets React At Opening To Monthly Job Numbers
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks ended lower for a second day and the S&P 500 posted its biggest weekly decline since 2012 on Friday as concerns over Argentina's default continued to dog sentiment.

Data showing U.S. job growth slowed in July and the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose suggested the Federal Reserve has room to keep interest rates low for a while.

The jobs growth, which came in below economists' forecasts, relieved some investors worried about how soon the Fed could bump up interest rates after data on Thursday showed U.S. labor costs recorded their biggest gain in more than 5½ years in the second quarter.

But concern remained over Argentina's debt problems after the country's default earlier this week. A U.S. judge on Friday criticized Argentina's decision to default and ordered negotiations between the country and holdout investors to continue.

"Anytime a country defaults on its debt, it's usually an unnerving event in the market. The risk-aversion people sell risky assets," said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management in Bethesda, Maryland.

But Trunow said the market dips should be seen as buying opportunities. "I don't think we're anywhere near the end of the expansion cycle."

Seven of the 10 S&P 500 sectors ended lower, with S&P financials among sectors with the biggest losses. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares were down 2.1 percent at $56.48.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 69.93 points, or 0.42 percent, to 16,493.37, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 5.52 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,925.15, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 17.13 points, or 0.39 percent, to 4,352.64.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.7 percent, its biggest weekly percentage loss since the week ending June 1, 2012. The Dow ended down 2.8 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent.

The Dow's losses dragged it further into negative territory for the year. For the year-to-date, it is down 0.5 percent.

Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG), the world's largest maker of household products, rose 3 percent to $79.65 and helped to support the Dow and S&P 500 after it said it could sell about half of its brands in the next two years and cut jobs.

Electric carmaker Tesla Motors (TSLA) second-quarter revenue nearly doubled from the prior year, while its adjusted earnings topped expectations. Shares rose 4.5 percent to $233.27.

In other economic data Friday, a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed that manufacturing had its fastest expansion in more than three years in July.

About 7.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday, above the 6.2 billion average for the last five days, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

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S&P 500 Posts Biggest Weekly Loss Since 2012
"August is a traditional month when next year's models are rolled out, and the rush to sell last year's inventory heats up," says John Ganotis, founder of CreditCardInsider.com. "For instance, General Motors (GM) promoted Chevrolet sales with a 'Love It or Return It' campaign that allowed customers to return new cars within 60 days of purchase. GM's no-haggle equivalent was called 'Total Confidence Pricing.' Cars were offered at about the same price GM gave its employees." Ganotis says that consumers can expect these and similar programs and specials this month.
Whether you're shopping for a pre-K or collegiate living, back to school sales are your best friend. "Many stores have already cut prices on supplies by up to 30 percent and are offering [buy one, get one] deals now," says DealScience.com, which delivers shopping intelligence. "Department stores like Kohl's (KSS) and Target (TGT), and office supply stores like Office Depot (ODP) and Staples (SPLS), are among those that have great seasonal savings." DealScience says some of the best savings on back to school goods are at office supply stores. Shop online for the best prices.
If you live where it stays hot, now's the time to take advantage of summer clearance sales. Of course, you can shop for next summer's wardrobe, too. Expect to find deals on sandals, tanks, swimwear, shorts and airy maxi dresses both online and at brick and mortar stores.
If you live in a cooler climate and buying summer duds at this time of year doesn't appeal, don't fret. Loads of retailers start fall promotions at the end of July and run them for several months. "Stores like Lucky Brand, Levi's and Lee offer up to 80 percent off before the summer is even over, so now is the time to purchase that new pair of jeans," says DealScience. "Gap (GPS) and Old Navy often cut prices on school styles by 40 percent." Check for specials on outerwear, boots, scarves, cardigans, denim and even belts.
According to DealNews.com, mainstream laptops are at rock bottom prices. The site says you can find a notebook for under $400 "with a 15" to 16" screen, at least 4GB of RAM, at least a 500GB hard drive, and Intel's (INTC) Haswell Core i5 processor, which is the company's mainstream chip capable of handling everything from HD movie streaming to casual gaming."
"Last month, brand-name 42" LCD HDTVs hit their lowest price of the year, coming in at an impressive $299, which is roughly $40 under 2014's average for this size category," reports DealNews. "Meanwhile, off-brand models of the same size, such as those from Insignia, Sceptre and Sanyo, hit $250, which is the best price we've seen all year for this category." The site says prices will continue to drop in August and -- perhaps -- through November.
Linens are a hot buy for both dorm-dwellers and newlyweds. With an uptick in both come August, retailers have blankets, sheets, pillows, shams, duvets, towels and washcloths marked down.
Wine grapes are typically harvested in early through late fall, which means that wineries all over the world are putting last year's bottles on sale to make room for the new stuff. Subscribe to your local wineries' newsletters and Facebook pages to stay up to date on specials. Wineries, grocers and major retailers often provide a discount when you buy at least six bottles at a time.
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