By Donna Kardos Yesalavich
U.S. stocks slipped Thursday, weighed by financials as investors braced for legislators to wrap up negotiations on the financial overhaul bill expected to be finalized Thursday.
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers said they expect to reach agreement Thursday on the final pieces of legislation expected to tighten oversight of the financial industry more than many expected.
Investors said even a month ago they expected the more contentious provisions still being debated, including derivatives regulation and the so-called "Volcker Rule," which would limit banks' ability to trade their own capital alongside client funds, would be significantly watered down or stripped out of the bill.
"As we get closer to the end game and get a better view of what the legislation will look like, it's shaping up to be tougher than many in the industry would've thought," said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was down 93 points, or 0.9%, to 10205, in recent trading. Financial components were among the worst performers.
J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) dropped 3.7%, while Bank of America (BAC) slid 2.2%.
The major banks' slide steepened after U.S. lawmakers agreed on new capital requirements in which larger banks will have five years to stop treating trust-preferred securities as Tier 1 capital, a key measure of a bank's strength.
Pfizer (PFE) was also weak. The drug company dropped 1.7% after saying it would suspend osteoarthritis trials of its pain drug tanezumab after a "small number" of reports that patients' ailments worsened to the point of needing joint replacement. The company said the suspension followed a request by the Food and Drug Administration.
Just two of the Dow's 30 components eked out gains: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) rose 0.3% and Coca-Cola (KO) edged up 0.1%.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) declined 0.9% to 2235. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) slipped 0.9% to 1082, with its financial and consumer-discretionary sectors leading the drop.
Weighing on the consumer discretionary sector, Darden Restaurants (DRI), owner of Olive Garden and the Red Lobster chains, fell 3.6% after its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell 6% as sales slipped. However, the restaurant company projected higher profits in the coming fiscal year on positive same-store sales for the first time in two years.
The market's broad drop Thursday came despite a bigger-than-expected drop in weekly jobless claims. Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 19,000 to 457,000 in the week ended June 19, while some economists had expected claims would fall by only 7,000.
Separately, the Commerce Department said durable-goods orders decreased by 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted $192.01 billion, but that was smaller than the 1.5% decline some economists predicted. The number was weighed down by a 30% plunge in non-defense aircraft and parts that followed a 216% surge in April.
Outside of the transportation sector, orders for all other durables rose by 0.9% in May, with gains in metals, machinery and computers.
However, investors continued to worry about the economy a day after the Federal Reserve's policy-making body kept its key interest rate near zero, as expected, but cast its policy statement with more downbeat language. "Financial conditions have become less supportive of economic growth on balance, largely reflecting developments abroad," namely in Europe, the central bank said in its Wednesday statement.
The euro fell to $1.2306, slightly down from $1.2310 late Wednesday in New York. The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), reflecting the U.S. currency against a basket of six others, rose 0.1%.
Treasurys also rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 3.08%, as investors moved toward safer assets. Crude-oil futures fell below $76 a barrel while gold futures advanced.
Among stocks in focus, Lennar (LEN) dropped 0.7%. The home builder swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit, easily beating analysts' estimates, helped by higher revenue. However, orders and deliveries fell.
Trading in Hasbro (HAS) shares rose 2.9% after a brief halt. Private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners approached the toymaker to take the company private in a leveraged buyout, people familiar with the matter said. Hasbro said its board has no interest in pursuing a transaction. Hasbro has a market capitalization of about $6 billion, and a leveraged buyout of the S&P 500 company, which owns the G.I. Joe, Transformers and Nerf brands, would be the year's largest private-equity deal.