April 10 - Summary of business headlines: Wall Street experiences its biggest drop of 2012 as investors fret ahead of the start of earnings season; Alcoa swings back to profit after fourth-quarter loss; Best Buy CEO resigns; Apple tops $600 billion market cap. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street followed up its worst day in a month with the biggest drop of the year. Investors are skittish ahead of an earnings season that could be full of negative surprises. Cary Leahey of Decision Economics says even job growth can be a liability. SOUNDBITE: CARY LEAHEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DECISION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "In the first quarter even though GDP isn't going to be particularly good, perhaps at two percent, there was a big wave of hiring; that meant reduced labor productivity and corporate profitability, so profits are being squeezed. So markets are saying: what is going to move the market higher in the next couple of months if the earnings are going to be disappointing?" Alcoa kicked-off the first quarter reporting season with results that were better than expected. The aluminum giant saw a quarterly profit compared to a loss in the fourth quarter. Alcoa cited improving conditions outside of Europe. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn is calling it quits. He resigned after his plan to resurrect the world's largest consumer electronics chain by shutting some of the retailer's large locations and cutting jobs failed to inspire confidence, following a disappointing holiday quarter. Best Buy has been under pressure as consumers shift to online retailers like Amazon. Apple's worth rose to new heights. The digital technology company saw its market cap top $600 billion, before shares succumbed to the broader market sell-off. Looking at the details of Wall Street's big tumble: The Dow lost 213 points, the S&P 500 fell 23 points, and the Nasdaq gave up 55 points; each losing less than 2 percent. But the losses were bigger in Europe on a percentage basis. Investors returning from an extended holiday weekend sent stocks tumbling 2-1/2 percent in Germany, 3 percent in France, and more than 2 percent in London. Conway Gittens, Reuters