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Global economic slowdown drags American stocks on Monday

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Before Monday’s opening bell, bad news had been coming from everywhere. Markit Economics released its composite index of services and manufacturing for Eurozone countries. The index declined to 47.4 from 49.1 in March, despite economists’ expectations for a slight increase. In the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered to resign following an impasse over austerity measures. Widespread concern that the nation could lose its AAA bond rating impacted the share values for European automobile manufacturers.

The Bank of Spain announced that the country is now officially in recession. Spain’s economy contracted by 0.4% during the first quarter of 2012, marking the second consecutive quarter of decline. Meanwhile, according to a report from Istat, Italy’s consumer confidence dropped to 89.3 – its lowest level in fifteen years.

In China, the preliminary release of the nation’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for April turned out to be a disappointment, despite an increase to 49.1 from the March PMI of 48.3. Any level below 50 signals economic contraction. The final reading will be due on May 2.

During the first forty minutes of Monday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a 168-point nosedive. Miami-based corporations saw their stocks get pounded.

The Dow closed at 12,927 for a loss of 102 points (0.78 percent). The S&P 500 declined by 84 basis points (0.84 percent) to finish at 1,366. The NASDAQ Composite lost exactly one percent to end the day at 2,970.

Miami-based corporations had a dreadful day on Monday. Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) escaped with the least damage, with a loss of 66 basis points (0.66%) to close at 31.47. Ryder System (R) declined by 1.67% to finish at 48.38. Royal Caribbean (RCL) sank by 3.31% to close at 26.03. Lennar (LEN) had the worst luck, losing 3.93% to end the day at 24.72.

The following companies will be playing “beat the number” on Tuesday, with the release of their quarterly earnings reports: 3M (MMM), Ace, Ltd (ACE), Active Power (ACPW), Aflac (AFL), AK Steel (AKS), Amgen (AMGN), Apple (AAPL), Ashland Chemical (ASH), Baidu (BIDU), Celanese (CE), CIT Group (CIT), Coach (COH), FMC Technologies (FTI), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), iRobot (IRBT), Janus Capital (JNS), LCA Vision (LCAV), Lennox International (LII), Lexamrk (LXK), McGraw-Hill (MHP), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Parker Hannifin (PH), RadioShack (RSH), Rayonier (RYN), Regions Financial (RF), RF Micro Devices (RFMD), Robert Half (RHI), Miami-based Ryder System (R), Synovus Financial (SNV), Hershey (HSY), Unisys (UIS), United States Steel (X), United Technologies (UTX), Western Union (WU) and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies (WAB). Good luck!

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