NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks fell Thursday morning, promising another nerve-wracking day for investors who just endured one of the worst losses of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell steadily throughout the morning and was down 89 points at 12,331 as of 11:15 a.m. It plunged 161 points the day before on concerns about Europe, marking its third-worst daily loss of the year. May will be the Dow's first monthly loss since September - another unwelcome milestone.
Stock index futures had climbed before the market opened after several big retailers including Target and Limited Brands reported healthy sales for May. Those gains evaporated after the government released discouraging news about jobs and economic growth.
The dismal month has been an unpleasant jolt after the gains in the first quarter, when investors wagered that Europe's financial troubles were, if not exactly solved, at least becoming more manageable. In the 21 trading days so far this month, the Dow has lost value on all but five. Its declines have wiped out nearly four-fifths of the gains made in the first three months of the year.
The Standard & Poor's 500 edged down eight to 1,305. The Nasdaq composite fell 22 points to 2,815.
News about U.S. stocks and bonds crimped the market, emphasizing the tenuous nature of any economic recovery here.
The government reported that claims for unemployment benefits rose to a five-week high, and that the economy grew more slowly than expected in the first three months of the year.