U.S. stocks posted the steepest weekly drop since July 2002 after lower-than-estimated home construction, retail sales and manufacturing reinforced speculation that the economy is entering a recession.
Intel Corp. led technology companies lower for the fourth straight week after the world's biggest chipmaker forecast sales that trailed estimates. Citigroup Inc., the largest U.S. bank by assets, plunged to the lowest since February 1999 after reporting the biggest loss in its 196-year history.
Home construction fell 14 percent in December, concluding the worst year for the industry since 1980, the Commerce Department said. Separate government reports showing retail sales fell for the first time since June and manufacturing in the Philadelphia region slid to a six-year low heightened concern that the housing slowdown is infecting the broader economy....MORE