Closing Update: More Profit-Taking, Quarter-End Positioning Leaves Stocks Lower For Third Straight Day

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Stocks failed to break a three day losing streak and are giving back all of this morning's gains tied to economic data that eased concerns surrounding a Fed tapering. Waning consumer confidence and a moderation in home prices validated recent comments from Fed members Dudley and Lockhart that the economy still needs the support of an accommodative monetary policy while President Obama's speech helped ease geo-political tensions between the U.S. and Syria.

But despite evidence to the contrary, investors are still uneasy with the lingering uncertainty and somewhat conflicting statements concerning the fate of QE. As a result, taper-related jitters coupled with window-dressing into the quarter end continues to provide an excuse to take profits off last week's record highs. Fortunately, the Dow Industrial respected technical support at the 50 day moving average at 15,300 preventing a freefall in the market at the close.

The Nasdaq closed on the plus side, getting a boost from Applied Materials ( AMAT ) with the stock gaining 9% on a $29 billion merger between the semi-conductor maker and Tokyo Electron.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 66.79 (-0.43%) to 15,334.59

S&P 500 was down 4.42 (-0.26%) to 1,697.42

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.96 (+0.08%) to 3,768.25

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was up 0.21%

Nikkei 225 was down 0.07%

Hang Seng Index was down 0.82%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.61%

UPSIDE MOVERS:

LLEN, The company produced key documents to the special committee of independent directors to repudiate the short seller allegations posted by GeoInvesting.

AMAT, Applied Materials to merge with Tokyo Electron Limited for approximately $29 billion

GWAY, The company is to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $20.35 per share.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

BIOS, The Federal government is planning upcoming discussions a civil investigation of BioScrip's May 2013 sale of its traditional and specialty mail pharmacy business.

CCL, Carnival is projecting net income for Q3 of $0.03, well under the Capital IQ consensus for EPS of $0.09.

RHT, Red Hat reported disappointing billings for the fiscal second quarter of $376 million versus estimates of $398 million.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AMAT

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