Wall St. selloff continues
Improved results from Ford fail to sooth investors' credit market worries.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks retreated at the start of Thursday's session as Wall Street wrestled with surprisingly strong results from automaker Ford and lingering credit market fears.
The Dow Jones industrial average (Charts) lost 0.3 percent in the opening moments of trade, just a day after suffering one of its biggest point declines of the year.
The broader S&P 500 index (Charts) slipped 0.4 percent, while the tech-fueled Nasdaq (Charts) fell 0.9 percent.
Just a day earlier, major indexes tumbled nearly 3 percent lower, with the Dow industrials plunging 361 points, dragged lower by persistent credit market fears.
Offsetting those concerns were improved results from Ford Motor Co. (Charts, Fortune 500) that topped Wall Street expectations. Ford shares climbed 2 percent in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
But those fears may continue to weigh on investors as Morgan Stanley (Charts, Fortune 500) announced late Wednesday it would take a $3.7 billion writedown because of bad bets on subprime mortgages.
Late Wednesday, Dow component American International Group (Charts, Fortune 500) reported disappointing results after the closing bell Wednesday, blaming the battered housing market and tighter credit conditions.
And media giant News Corp. (Charts, Fortune 500) reported a decline in earnings from a year ago after Wednesday's closing bell, although it topped analysts' expectations, helped by strong box office results from films such as "The Simpsons Movie".
Retail sales eased for the second straight month in October, major retailers reported Wednesday, a worrisome sign for this yaer's holiday shopping season.
Wal-Mart (Charts, Fortune 500), the world's largest retailer, reported an increase in sales at the low end of its forecast.
But wholesale club retailer Costco (Charts, Fortune 500) posted better-than-expected results, helped by strong sales outside the United States.
Oil prices retreated but continued to remain near record level as light, sweet crude for December rose $1.22 to $97.59 a barrel. Just a day earlier it reached a new trading high of $98.62 a barrel.
Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 4.30 percent from 4.33 percent late Wednesday.
In currency trading the dollar again eased against the euro, but was narrowly higher against the yen.
Overseas, Asian markets finished sharply lower, while European shares were mixed in midday trade.