May 1, 2009

Markets start May down slightly

U.S. stocks began May slightly down in early trading in New York Friday after closing out April with some of the strongest monthly gains in years.

Dow Jones industrial average trading was off 0.44 percent, down 36.32 points at 8,131.80 points. Nasdaq was off 0.56 percent, down 9.57 points to 1,707.73. The Standard & Poors 500 was at 868.79, down 4.05 points, or 0.46 percent.

April was a banner month for shares worldwide, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Dow Jones World Index rose 12 percent in dollar terms, its largest monthly climb since it began in 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average capped its best two-month percentage rise in seven years, rising 7.4 percent in April.

The federal government is expected next week to reveal results from its so-called stress tests of 19 financial institutions, assessments of their ability to withstand further declines in the economy. Results could indicate whether banks and other institutions can begin repaying funds they received in the financial bailout.

U.S. Treasury bond prices slipped, further elevating yields. The yield on the 10-year treasury note was 3.17 percent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed at 1.7 percent. The FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent in London.

The dollar was trading at 99.37 against the Japanese yen, compared to Thursday's trading close of 98.62. Against the euro, the dollar was trading 1.3272, compared to Thursday's 1.3230.