Stocks struggle as oil prices decline
May 3rd, 2011
08:42 PM ET

Stocks struggle as oil prices decline

Some highlights from the day's business news:

U.S. stocks struggled for a second session on Tuesday, as disappointing corporate earnings and a steep drop in the price of oil weighed on the broader market.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished mostly unchanged, rising less than a point, to close at 12,808.

The biggest drag on blue chips was Pfizer, which reported earnings per share that beat by just a penny. The drugmaker reaffirmed its outlook, but investors were hoping for more. Shares fell 3%.

Financial shares were among the top performers in the Dow, with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase closing up more than 1.5%.

The energy sector was the biggest weight on the broader market as oil prices retreated sharply, settling down 2.2% to $111.05 a barrel. Chevron shares fell 2%, ConocoPhilips shares dropped more than 4% and Exxon Mobil was down less than 2%.

The S&P 500 fell 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1,357; and the Nasdaq Composite shed 22 points, or 0.8%, to 2,742.

Gas price spike boosts sales of fuel efficient cars

Despite higher gas prices, auto sales rose in the Untied States in April, including a larger-than expected gain for General Motors.

GM reported Tuesday that U.S. sales were up 27% last month versus a year ago, driven by strong demand for fuel-efficient passenger cars and crossovers.

"Rising fuel prices have led many to re-think their vehicle choice," said Don Johnson, GM's vice president of sales.

Sales of the company's flagship economy car, the Chevrolet Cruze, were the best since it was launched in 2008. But GM wasn't the only one benefiting from renewed interest in fuel efficient cars. Hyundai said total U.S. sales in April were up 40% from last year. Kia Motors, which is partly owned by Hyundai, also reported record sales for the month. Ford said sales rose 16% in April, driven by sales of the Fiesta, Fusion and Focus.

Netflix CEO: We don't want war with cable

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is pleased with his company's massive growth, but he fears that getting too large will start "an Armageddon" with cable networks.

Hastings talked about Netflix's "niche" philosophy - a Goldilocks-esque business plan of staying "not too big, not too small" - in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Wired Business Conference in New York City.

Panel moderator Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired magazine, asked Hastings who is "most threatened" by Netflix as it expands its streaming video content.

"We've consistently said getting into current season [TV] or newer movies would not be profitable for us," Hastings said. "It would be an Armageddon. It would be World War III, and we likely wouldn't survive that battle."

- contributor Ken Sweet and reporters Ben Rooney and Julianne Pepitone contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Business • Economy
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Psyclops

    @Common sense: Umm you don't follow much history do you. Please Google Islamic Terrorism and you'll see that the first international incidences against the US/Allies happened under Jimmy Carter. Since then the US has been trying (wrongfully) to treat each country like it's own little chess board pitting lesser evils against greater evils and that strategy failed. We must promote peace and democracy whenever possible instead of waging a counter Jihad against the crazies around the world.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tarek Hamzi

    The seals are gays with uniform, as all the US military, we are real fighters, we don't need so much technology to bomb your asses

    May 4, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    Greetings JAZZZZ!
    Had big w.o.; always makes me feel better.
    Grabbing fast lunch now–my bus. partner says I'm tough the way an egg is.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tarek Hamzi

    I noticed that I was gay at 6 years old in kinder. I had a crush on my male teacher. I would wet myself when he let me sit on his lap. Now I just sit on men and get wet all the time. I'm GAY and I love it.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Common Sense

    @Psyclops: I fully agree with the second part of your statement. I do'nt need to google that information because I was here at that time. Those were the good old days.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |

    I want to see PALIN in a BIKINI.

    June 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
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