* Goldman, Citigroup earnings push financial stocks lower
* United Health, CSX drop on results, Best Buy plummets
* Initial jobless claims dip; CPI up in December vs November
* Dow down 0.5 pct, S&P 500 off 0.2 pct, Nasdaq off 0.02 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 16 U.S. stocks fell on Thursday,
with the S&P 500 pulling back from record levels following a
round of disappointing earnings as financial stocks led the way
Financials were the biggest drag on the market after both
Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported
quarterly profits hit by lower bond trading revenue, with
Goldman's earnings falling 21 percent and Citigroup's missing
expectations. The results followed fairly positive reads on the
sector from JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp
and Wells Fargo & Co.
Goldman's stock slid 2.2 percent to $174.79 and ranked as
one of the Dow's biggest decliners, while Citigroup dropped 4.1
percent to $52.74. The S&P financial sector index fell
0.7 percent, making it the biggest loser among the S&P 500
"This group is very tied to the economy, and it makes it
difficult to argue that we could see a higher GDP ahead, given
these," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners
in Chicago. "The earnings picture, along with some recent data,
suggests we haven't made it out of the very slow growth rate
that we've been seeing."
UnitedHealth Group Inc was the Dow's biggest
decliner, falling 3.2 percent to $72.47 even as the largest U.S.
health insurer reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and said
2014 earnings would improve.
CSX Corp shares also sank, dropping 7.4 percent to
$27.07 a day after the major U.S. railroad reported profits that
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 78.16
points, or 0.47 percent, at 16,403.78. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 4.45 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,843.93.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.64 of a point, or
0.02 percent, at 4,214.25.
After a lackluster start to 2014 on concerns that stock
valuations may be too high after the S&P 500's rally of 30
percent last year, the index surged 1.6 percent over the past
two sessions to close at a record high on Wednesday, its first
since Dec. 31.
"Stocks are a little more expensive at these levels, but I
don't think we're overly due for a correction," said Oliver
Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in
Suffern, New York. "If we saw a pullback of even 10 percent, I
would view that as a buying opportunity."
The stock of Best Buy Co Inc plunged 27.6 percent to
$27.19, easily the S&P 500's worst performer after the world's
largest consumer electronics chain reported a drop in holiday
sales and forecast a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly
In the latest economic data, the Consumer Price Index rose
0.3 percent in December while the core CPI, which strips out
volatile food and energy prices, edged up only 0.1 percent,
suggesting underlying inflation was muted.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000
to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 in the week ended Jan. 11.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 fewer
applications received than previously reported, suggesting a
sharp slowdown in job growth in December was likely to be
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business
activity index stood at 9.4 points in January, compared with 6.4
in December. This month's reading exceeded the median forecast
of 8.6 among economists polled by Reuters. But companies'
outlook for the months ahead worsened.
In the deal arena, Apollo Global Management LLC said
it would buy CEC Entertainment Inc, the parent of the
Chuck E Cheese restaurant chain, for about $948 million. CEC
Entertainment's stock jumped 12.6 percent to $54.52. In
contrast, Apollo Global's shares declined 1.1 percent to $35.37.