Stocks fall…Productivity shows slight improvement…Trade deficit is lower
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are falling as the market continues a sell-off that began late yesterday. Big losses for insurer AIG are hurting financial stocks while Cardinal Health tumbles and takes the health care sector lower. Tesla is skidding after the electric car maker posted another big loss, and Wall Street reacted negatively to comments by CEO Elon Musk. Shares in Spotify sank after the company reported quarterly results for the first time since becoming a publicly traded company in early April.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first three months of this year, a weak reading but a slight improvement from the previous quarter. The Labor Department says that the first quarter increase followed an even weaker 0.3 percent gain in the fourth quarter of last year. Labor costs rose at a 2.7 percent rate in the first quarter, the fastest gain in a year.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. services firms grew at a slower pace in April compared to the prior month, as companies are reporting cost pressures from possible tariffs and a shortage of available workers. The Institute for Supply Management says its services index fell to 56.8, from 58.8 in March. This marks to lowest reading of the index this year. Still, any reading above 50 is a sign of expansion. The services sector has been expanding for the past 99 months, or more than eight years.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Record exports trimmed the U.S. trade deficit in March for the first time in seven months. The Commerce Department says the trade gap slid to $49 billion, down from $57.7 billion in February and lowest since September. Exports rose in March to a record $208.5 billion, led by shipments of civilian aircraft and soybeans. Imports slipped 1.8 percent to $257.5 billion.
NEW YORK (AP) – An appeals court in New York says a former Wall Street trader can be released from prison because he was improperly convicted of taking advantage of a government bailout program. The ruling Thursday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals frees Jesse Litvak from a two-year prison sentence he was serving after his securities fraud conviction last year. Authorities say he was the first person convicted of a crime related to the program that used bailout funds in the financial meltdown to restart trading markets for mortgage-backed securities.