US stocks end sharply lower

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New York, April 29 (IANS) US stocks closed sharply lower as Wall Street was weighed by the decision of Bank of Japan to maintain its monetary policy amid the newly-released US data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 210.79 points, or 1.17 percent, to 17,830.76. The S&P 500 shed 19.34 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,075.81 on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 57.85 points, or 1.19 percent, to 4,805.29.

The BOJ on Thursday decided to keep its current monetary policy despite market expectations of additional easing, while putting off again the target date of achieving its 2 percent inflation goal.

In US economic news, US real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, worse than traders’ estimates, according to the advance estimate released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

“Weakness in commercial real estate and business equipment spending spread beyond the oil patch in the first quarter, as six consecutive quarters of falling profits have taken a toll. So far, companies are still investing in human capital, but ongoing employment growth cannot be a sure thing given the extent of the weakness in business investment,” said Chris Low, the chief economist at FTN Financial, on Thursday.

In the week ending April 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 257,000, up 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Labor Department said Thursday.

In corporate news, shares of Facebook soared more than 7 percent on Thursday, after briefly rising more than 10.5 percent to hit a fresh all-time high in intraday trade.

The social media giant posted quarterly earnings well above expectations after the Wednesday’s closing bell.

–IANS

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