April 5 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks end holiday-shortened week close to the flat line but down overall as stimulus expectations are rolled back; Facebook to list on Nasdaq -source; Warm weather, early Easter boost March retail sales. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street closed out the holiday-shortened week as the worst week for the S&P 500 this year. Facebook, not yet a publicly traded company, was the center of attention late in the day. Facebook has picked Nasdaq over the New York Stock Exchange for its initial public offering, according to a source familiar with the situation. The $5 billion IPO is slated to be the biggest tech has ever seen. Spokespeople for Facebook, the NYSE, and the Nasdaq each declined to comment. The latest read on the labor market added to speculation the Federal Reserve can resist adding further monetary stimulus. Jobless claims dropped to levels not seen since April 2008, according to the Labor Department. And a survey from consultants Challenger Gray and Christmas showed layoff announcements fell to a 10-month low. March was solid for many of the nation's retailers. Good weather and an early Easter kept shoppers coming through the doors, especially for clothing. Many retailers even saw better-than-expected sales at locations opened at least a year, because they did not have to discount as heavy as in recent years. One stand-out is Gap, says Thomson Reuters retail analyst Jharonne Martis. JHARONNE MARTIS, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, THOMSON REUTERS PROPRIETARY RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Mothers love the collection and at the Gap they received a boost because of colored jeans just in time for Easter and the Mad Men collection is very popular at Banana Republic." But J.C. Penney is not doing well, cutting 900 jobs. Wall Street didn't move much on Thursday, with the Nasdaq up a bit. For the week: blue chips lost 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq shed 0.4 percent. European markets, which are closed on Friday and Monday, were little changed ahead of the holiday. Conway Gittens, Reuters