U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Wednesday as renewed concerns over the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis and higher than expected rebuilding costs in Japan weighed on the sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index declined 5.76 points, or 0.45 percent, to trade at 1,288.40 at 9:40 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 27.55 points, or 0.23 percent, to trade at 11,991.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 percent.
The euro eased from a four-and-a-half month high against the dollar on Thursday as appetite for the single currency weakened, amid renewed concerns over debt problems in Portugal. The EUR/USD pair retreated to $1.4127 on speculation that Portugal’s minority government may collapse today, as the country’s parliament votes on budget cuts that have divided lawmakers.
Portugal Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said he will resign if his austerity plan is defeated. The nation's main opposition party may vote against it, according to some reports, which raised concerns that the fiscal situation would deteriorate if the austerity plan was turned down.
Meanwhile, Japan's government has said that the cost of March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation woes, which have devastated the country, could reach $309 billion. That figure is considerably higher than other estimates. The World Bank on Monday said damage might reach $235 billion and Investment bank Goldman Sachs had estimated quake damage of as much as $200 billion.
The metropolitan government of Tokyo has advised residents not to allow infants under the age of one to drink tap water (or powdered milk made with tap water) after radioactive iodine was detected in a purification plant in Katsushika Ward.
On the corporate front, shares of Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE:JBL) surged 8.51 percent to $20.54. The company reported second quarter net income of $55.4 million or $0.25 per share compared to $29.8 million or $0.14 per share in the same period a year ago.
Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) shares declined 4.05 percent as its second quarter earnings and revenue forecast fell short of expectations. The company expects second quarter net income to be in the range of $0.47 to $0.54 per share on $970 million to $1.02 billion revenue, while analysts expect Adobe to earn $0.57 per share on revenue of $1.04 billion for the second quarter.
Crude oil futures advanced 0.35 percent to $105.34/barrel and gold futures gained 0.25 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 0.78 points, DAX30 down by 17.65 points and CAC 40 up by 1.14 points.