Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.Launch Radio player
Stocks on Wall Street ended a dismal January with investors losing confidence in the technology sector, specially Microsoft and Apple.
Apple fell 3.6% after being under pressure the last two days since unveiling its new tablet computer, the iPad. The company also reported record earnings this week but finished the week down 2.9%.
A 3.4% drop in Microsoft came despite its report of a 60% gain in fiscal second-quarter profit.
Energy stocks were also weak, hurt by a fourth straight decline in crude oil prices on demand concerns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53.13 points, or 0.5%, to 10,067.33, The Dow's losses were tempered by solid gains in Wal-Mart, Home Depot and DuPont.
The blue chip index finished January down 3.5%, its biggest monthly decline since February 2009.
However, some traders worry the Dow's 6.1% decline so far from its recent high, set on January 19, leaves room for more downside before the average hits the 10% threshold that usually defines a correction.
The S&P 500 fell 1% to 1073.82, down 3.7% for the month.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was the weakest of the major averages, off 1.5% to end at 2147.35, down 5.4% for January.
Other markets: Europe up, Asia down
Canadian stocks fell for a third day, completing their biggest monthly loss since February 2009.
Goldcorp retreated 4.4% as bullion futures declined for a third day. Canadian Pacific Railway lost 4.4% after its quarterly profit announcement disappointed investors. Teck Resources decreased 5.5% as copper prices had their biggest weekly drop since December 2008.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slumped 1.6% to 11,094.31, its lowest close since November 4. The index has fallen 5.6% this month even as 75% of S&P/TSX companies that have reported quarterly earnings this year have beaten analysts’ average estimates.
European shares ended January on a positive note as tension eased surrounding Greece's financial crisis and a batch of strong earnings reports from auto and technology companies boosted confidence.
In Germany, BMW shares rose 4.8% after it reassured investors it would post a pre-tax profit for 2009, even though annual revenue fell 4.7%. Daimler shares rose 3.4% after HSBC upgraded the firm to neutral from underweight.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose 1% to 246.96, paring losses for the month to 2.8%.
The German DAX climbed 1.2% to 5608.79, the French CAC-40 Index advanced 1.4% to 3739.46 while the UK FTSE 100 Index rose 0.8% to 5188.52.
Asian markets ended January on a weak note after a solid 2009.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average of 225 companies dropped 2.1% to 10198.04, a five-week low. The index slid 3.7% for the week and is down 3.3% for the year, after posting losses in eight of the last 10 sessions.
China's Shanghai Composite lost 8.8% in January, closing at 2989.29.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 8% to 20121.99, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slid 6.2% to 4569.62 and South Korea's Kospi ended the month down 4.8% at 1602.43.
Commodities: Oil, gold down
Crude oil futures sank to a one-month low as a 5.7% expansion in fourth quarter US gross domestic product, more than forecasters had anticipated, failed to register with a market still grappling with weak oil demand.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery settled 75USc, or 1%, lower at $US72.89 a barrel in New York, off 8.2% for January. It was the seventh decline in the past eight sessions.
That loss also halted a five-month winning streak and represented the biggest one-month slide since December 2008.
Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange settled 67USc, or 0.9%, lower at $US71.46 a barrel.
Gold futures finished a volatile session with a tiny loss after the dollar was boosted by the US economic data.
The February gold fell 60USc, or 0.1%, to settle at $US1083 an ounce in New York while the most-active April dipped $US1, or 0.1%, to $1083.80.
Currencies: Dollar up, euro down
Pressure on the euro accelerated, falling below $US1.39 for the first time in more than six months.
The weakness appeared to prompt action by the Swiss National Bank, which intervened to stem a sharp rally in the Swiss franc.
The euro jumped to as high as 1.4764 Swiss francs before settling back to 1.4704 francs.
The US dollar rose to a fresh six-month high, propelled by improved economic data and a rise in consumer confidence.
The euro fell to $US1.3868 compared with $US1.3985 late on Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar also rose to ¥90.29 compared with ¥90.25 before the GDP release.
The UK pound fell 0.8% to $US1.6001. It's declined 0.2% this month versus the dollar.