Stocks Fall Amid Worries in Europe

Some troubling economic data from around the world is pushing stocks down sharply.

In Europe, French and Italian industrial production unexpectedly fell. There are also fears about the health of Portugal’s top-listed bank. And in Japan, there was a record drop in machinery orders. The news raised red flags here in the U.S., where the S&P 500 has not seen a daily decline of one percent since April.

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Nonetheless, we saw a surprise positive report on the job market. The Labor Department said 304,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. That’s one of the lowest levels since before the recession.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) says the global fleet of airplanes will double over the next two decades. Growing passenger demand is behind its expectations for a market of nearly 37,000 planes to be built by 2033, totaling more than $5 trillion.

Discount retailer Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) said its quarterly profit fell sharply. So did its same-store sales, which were down 1.8%, marking the third straight quarterly decline. Family Dollar has been under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn to put itself up for sale.