US stocks fall to trim Dow's best quarterly gain since '98

US stocks fall to trim D

SHARES TEL AVIV The TA-25 Index fell for the first time in five days, decreasing 20.68, or 2 percent, to 995.27 at the close in Tel Aviv. The measure gained 15% in the last three months, its third quarterly increase. The benchmark has climbed 52% this year, recouping last year's 46% loss, the steepest decline in 25 years. Investors traded about NIS 2.37 billion in shares and convertible securities. BioLineRx rose to the highest level in more than two years, advancing 17%. The biopharmaceutical company reported "significant improved cognitive results" in the second phase of its clinical trial for a schizophrenia drug. Koor Industries declined 3%. The holding company owned by Nochi Dankner said it would postpone the acceptance date of its tender offer to buy shares of Makhteshim-Agan Industries to October 13. WALL STREET US stocks fell, trimming the Dow Jones Industrial Average's best quarterly rally in more than a decade, as an unexpected contraction in a gauge of business activity spurred concern the economy is struggling to recover. Walt Disney Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and General Electric Co. dropped at least 1.7% to lead declines in 21 of the 30 stocks in the Dow after the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.'s business barometer trailed economists' estimates. CIT Group Inc., the 101-year-old commercial lender, tumbled 45% on concern it will be forced into bankruptcy. The S&P 500 lost 0.4% to 1,056.93 at 4:05 p.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge of US stocks climbed for a seventh straight month in September, its longest streak in almost three years. The Dow average slipped 29.92 points, 0.3%, to 9,712.28. EUROPE European stocks dropped, trimming the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index's biggest quarterly advance this decade, after a measure of US business activity unexpectedly shrank in September. Marks & Spencer Group Plc slipped 3.4% as the UK's largest clothing retailer said 2010 would be "a tough year." The Stoxx 600 sank 0.5% to 242.47, erasing a gain of as much as 0.8%. Europe's Stoxx 600 has soared 18% since the end of June, the steepest quarterly increase since 1999, as the European Central Bank kept interest rates at a record low and the French and German economies unexpectedly exited recessions. Benchmark indexes dropped in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.5% to 5,133.90. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.5%, and Germany's DAX lost 0.7%. ASIA Asian stocks rose, lifting the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its seventh monthly advance, after China's central bank said it would retain a "moderately loose" monetary policy and NGK Insulators increased its profit forecast. Poly Real Estate Group rose 3.3% after the People's Bank of China said stimulus measures to boost domestic demand would continue. NGK Insulators surged 8.8% in Tokyo after citing growing demand for products related to cars and electronics for its higher forecast. Billabong International, Australia's biggest surfwear maker, climbed 4% on a better-than-estimated retail sales report. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.3% to 10,133.23. CURRENCIES The shekel weakened 0.4% to 3.7796 per dollar at 5:13 p.m. in Tel Aviv, cutting the currency's gain for the quarter to 3.8%. The dollar dropped against most of its major counterparts and posted a second straight quarterly loss against the euro as evidence the global economy is recovering boosted demand for higher-yielding assets. The dollar slid 0.3% to $1.4631 versus the euro at 4:05 p.m. in New York, from $1.4587 on Tuesday, extending its quarterly drop to 4.1%. COMMODITIES Crude oil futures topped $70 a barrel and gasoline surged after a US government report showed an unexpected decline in supplies of the motor fuel. Crude oil for November delivery rose $3.85, or 5.8%, to $70.56 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures for December delivery climbed $14.90, or 1.5%, to $1,009.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since September 3.