U.S. stocks fell for a fourth day Thursday, with worries over
Chinese economic growth and a weekend referendum on severing the
Crimean peninsula from Ukraine overwhelming mostly postive economic
data at home. Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 declined,
with the steepest slides for technology and industrial stocks as
well as shares of consumer discretionary companies. Utility stocks
were the lone gainers today, picking up support in likely
haven-shopping for many traders.
New data out of China overnight showed the world second largest
economy slowing, with growth in investment, retail sales and
factory output all falling to multi-year lows.
Chinese industrial output rose 8.6% during January and February
over year-ago levels, the National Bureau of Statistics said, its
slowest rise since April 2009 and missing market expectations for a
9.5% advance. Retail sales grew 11.8% during the first two months
of the year, lagging expectations for a 13.5% rise, while
fixed-asset investment rose a below-consenus 17.9% in January and
The news was better closer to home for U.S. investors, with the
Labor Department reporting a surprise 9,000 drop in first-time
jobless claims last week, topping expectations for a 7,000 rise.
Import and export prices also beat market expectations while
February retail sales grew 0.3%, the Commerce Department, nudging
out consensus opinion looking for a 0.2% gain. But January figures
were revised lower, reflecting the effect of cold weather on the
economy in early 2014.
Natural gas futures fell after new inventory data found a drop
of 195 billion cubic feet during the week ended March 7, matching
industry expectations for the period. The April natural gas
contract settled 11 cents lower at $4.38 per 1 million BTU while
April crude oil rose 21 cents to finish at $98.20 per barrel.
April gold climbed $1.50 to $1372.10 per ounce while May silver
slid 19 cents to $21.17 per ounce. Copper continued its recent
skid, with the May contract slipping another 4 cents to settle at
$2.92 per pound with declining growth in China seen eroding demand
for the industrial metal.
Here's where the markets stood at end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.4% at 16,108
S&P 500 down 1.2% at 1,846
Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.5% at 4,260
Hang Seng Index down 0.67%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.07%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.89%
(+) DXM, Reports 43.4% year over year rise in Q4 revenue to $429
million, including a 5.1% rise in digital advertising sales over
the year-ago period. Records $576 million operating loss, reversing
a $16 million operating profit last year.
(+) SGMS, Narrows Q4 net loss compared to year-ago levels to
$500,000, or $0.01 per share, improving on $0.14 loss last year.
Revenue rises 62.8% year over year to $401.9 mln, topping analyst
projections by $13.84 mln.
(+) APPY, Shares climb to 2-year highs after the company issues
positive top-line results from late-stage testing of its APPY1
diagnostic test to determine appendicitis risk.
(-) MLNK, Prices upsized $90 mln offering of its convertible
senior notes due 2019. Net proceeds will be used for general
corporate purposes, including potential acquisitions and strategic
business opportunities. No deals are currently pending.
(-) MEI, Fiscal Q3 earnings of $0.38 per share during the three
months ended Feb. 1 lag the Capital IQ consensus by $0.01. Revenue
rose 54.3% over year-ago levels to $189.8 million, topping analyst
projections by around $15 million.
(-) DSCO, Q4 net loss grows 72% over year-ago levels to $11.7
million, or $0.16 per share. Gross revenue totaled just $74,000,
trailing estimates by 79%, with $140,000 in sales of its Surfaxin
breathing aid deferred to future quarters.