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. Cesar

    Jesus Cristo! Somebody hand me a beef jerky!

    May 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    @Cesar: Shut up stupid.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nur amabo nur

    Gas went up $0.04 in my area today. Now over $4.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    It's fun to drive a Fiat around Italy.
    Now you can do the same thing here.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Nah, I'd rather drive the Fiat in Italy!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    You can take the Fiat out of Italy, but you can't take the Italy out of the Fiat. A nice hello to banasy-long time friend.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    I'd actually would like to drive *any* car in Italy! And hello, real Cesar, my pal! 😉

    May 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Psyclops

    Ok so let me get this straight.... Oil prices DOWN.... Gas prices UP?

    May 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Common Sense

    I ca'nt tell oil prices went down. Gas prices jumped .10 in one day here. I guess Donald Trump will make all this misery go away when he becomes president. Ha ha ha!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    I am getting up very early because I've missed the gym several days: too much work.
    I know I'm fortunate. Friends tell me to slow down.
    "You look tired."
    I am.
    I had to fire somebody yesterday for not doing a job. It felt terrible in this economy; she cried, but has her own money anyway.
    People around me are suffering. This is a terrible time.
    People are buying cheaper food: meals without meat because there is not enough work.
    It's a very sad time.
    It's expensive to heat a house. I worry about people who can't pay for it.
    I know rich people who have horse farms that lose money because it's "fun" work. Horses, dogs, goats, cats...just to feed. They're my friends, but they don't really work. They have parties and beagle teas. It's wrong.
    I work all the time.
    I do help people.
    But something is terribly wrong.
    Our work ethic is shot.
    People with few skills want more money than their work is worth.
    We have to keep going.
    I'm going to work out now, or I'll cry. Men aren't supposed to cry.
    Gonna make coffee.
    What we need is more coffee.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzzzz

      Be careful Joey , those RICH friends may not be around if you ever really become down and out. Yes I can simpilize with you about how much you want to help ppl, very few actually get off their butt and do it though. real Men cry. 🙂

      May 4, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tarek Hamzi

    The whole world cries for Osama, he was thrown to the sea like a dog, we will not tolerate Americans making fun of our religion. Do not complain when we do the same to you. Our organization is better than ever, we have young recruits ready for action. Now you will suffer the consequences of your actions.

    May 4, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      Tarek Hamzi – Hopefully our SEAL team will hunt you like the dog you are soon enough. All you have to do is harm the U.S. and we will give you the same "Respect". Very few are crying for "Osama" and very few will cry for you as you take yourself down the same cowards path. Down down Taliban! Down down Al Qaeda! Down down ALL EXTREME RELIGIONS! DOWN DOWN Tarek Hamzi!!

      May 4, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Simple Jack

    @Tarek Hamzi:
    (1) Not all Americans are Christian, nor do we all make fun of Muslims.
    (2) Muhammad is just as much a false prophet as Jesus is, and perhaps you should try getting to know the real God.
    (3) It's really dumb to make threats over the internet as you can be traced and tracked down by most governments.
    (4) Have a blessed day.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Riff*Raff

    @Tarek: Im sure the FBI etc is closely monitoring internet activity given the current climate. Keep posting your threats & lead them to your front door. Go away now. Don't you have work to do? You know,destruction of capitalist infidels and stuff?

    May 4, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. Common Sense

    George W. Bush is a true terrorist. He single handedly took the U.S down. He was so silky smooth that nobody noticed until the country was in the gutter. We had no terrorist problems until George Bush Sr.@Jr.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Riff*Raff

    @Common Sense-agreed. He played our fears magnficently. With us or against us! Dead or alive! How much did we lose of ourselves in this 'War on Terror'? Loss of personal rights? Geneva Convention? Torture? Even war has rules. We gained nothing and lost a great deal. Bush was the worst thing to happen to the US in recent history. The US is not the same and may never be again. That breaks my heart.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
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