U.S. Stocks Fall in S&P 500’s Biggest Weekly Drop in 2012


24/03/2012 09:52 AST

U.S. stocks retreated this week, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index having its biggest decline since December, amid weaker-than-estimated housing data and reports showing manufacturing contracted in Europe and China.

Stocks rose on March 23 as a jump in oil prices lifted energy shares. The rally failed to help the industry avoid posting the worst performance for the week among the S&P 500’s 10 groups, falling 3 percent as Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) slumped 11 percent. The Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 2.5 percent, the most since Nov. 25, as FedEx Corp. tumbled amid a disappointing earnings forecast. Apple Inc. (AAPL) advanced 1.8 percent after announcing its first dividend in 17 years.

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