Stocks fell Thursday after Microsoft missed estimates and announced a massive layoff. The Dow industrials dipped below 8,000 briefly but did end off lows at 8,122 for a 1.3 percent decline on the day. Shares of Microsoft fell 12% to $17.11. Earnings after the close were mixed with Google beating estimates mildly but Advanced Micro Devices missing estimates badly and warning of a continuing steep decline in sales.
Economic data were dismal as usual including major declines in housing starts and permits, results that aren't pointing to any recovery in the housing sector or the banking sector for that matter. Weekly jobless claims showed significant increases that point to another month of major payroll contraction. But the most talked about economic data was GDP out of China which showed the greatest slowing since 2001. The day's data had little effect on the dollar which ended at $1.3002 against the euro.
Inventory data on petroleum products showed another week of major builds, builds indicating contraction in demand and which weighed on oil prices. Oil for March delivery fell more than $1 to end at $42.89. Gold firmed slightly to $858.