Summary: Stocks finished well above their worst levels of the day as worries about a large Portuguese bank whacked investor confidence; Potbelly, Lumber Liquidators add to consumer concerns; FTC sues Amazon. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street has a temporary nervous breakdown but recovers most of its nerve. In the end, the Dow only lost 70 points, the S&P 500 shed 8, and the Nasdaq 22 It was a much different story in Europe, where stocks in Germany tumbled by triple-digits, France lost almost 60 points and in the U.K. stocks fell 45 points. So what spooked the market? The Ghost of Europe past. Worries about Portugal's top listed bank - Banco Espirito Santo rippled throughout the banking sector, bringing the recent banking crisis back to mind. Back in the U.S.: Lumber Liquidators cut its outlook for the year. The discount retailer of hardwood floor materials says a bounceback in customer traffic after the stormy winter didn't last. The stock lost one-fifth of its value, dragging other home improvement related stocks lower. Mohawk and Tractor Supply two of the worse stocks in the S&P 500, Home Depot and Lowe's were down too. Potbelly, which operates a chain of sandwich shops, warning that its quarterly sales and profits won't be as good as expected. The restaurant chain says sales at locations opened at least a year were just disappointing and the company is going to ramp up spending to try and fix that. Shares of Potbelly have been cut in half since their market debut last year. Crumbs may have a savior. Just days after the cupcake haven shut its doors an investor group will provide financing, in the first step towards a buyout, according to CNBC. Amazon is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators says the tech company charged parents for millions of dollars of in-app purchases made by kids without parental consent. The FTC wants Amazon to give back the money and put in safety measures to prevent this from happening. Apple settled a similar case in January. In other news, U.S. crude oil prices - up for the first time in 10 sessions - even though gasoline demand is weaker than normal and Libyan supplies are coming on line. Finally, let's end on some good news. Weekly jobless claims falling to one of the lowest levels since the 2007-2009 recession.