Closing Update: Stocks Decline For Fourth Day in Five; Wednesday Fall Erases Tuesday Gains

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Stocks extended earlier losses after the Federal Reserve today voted to trim another $10 billion from its monthly bond-buying stimulus program. Shares already were declining well ahead of the afternoon Federal Open Markets Committee decision to reduce its purchases of Treasury and mortgage debt to $65 billion per month, erasing all of yesterday's gain after an aggressive rate hike in Turkey overnight failed to halt the sell-off in the Turkish lira, rekindling worries about slower global economic growth.

For the second meeting in a row, the Fed today continued to reduce its stimulus efforts, citing a pick up in economic activity in recent quarters, adding "Labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement."

The meeting was the last for Chairman Ben Bernanke, who leaves the central bank after eight years, handing the reins to Vice Chair Janet Yellen on Friday.

The ongoing economic turmoil in the world's emerging markets again kept equities in a slump, falling for the fourth day in five. Currency problems in Turkey as well as Russia sent many investors in haven such as gold, with the March gold contract rising $11.20 to settle at $1,262.20 per ounce. Natural gas also continued it rapid climb, with March contract advancing a whopping 65 cents to finish at $5.69 per 1 million BTU.

Here's where the U.S. market stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 189.77 (-1.19%) to 15,738.79

S&P 500 down 18.30 (-1.02%) to 1,774.20

Nasdaq Composite Index down 46.53 (-1.14%) to 4,051.43

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index up 0.82%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.56%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.43%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) EZPW, Q1 net income of $0.49 per share, ex items, beats Capital IQ consensus by $0.10. Revenue declined 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year, falling to $269.39 million but still topped the Street view by $4.32 million.

(+) FSL, Earns $0.19 per share in Q4, beating the consensus by $0.01. Revenue rises 13.1% year over year to $1.08 bln, also topping analyst estimates by around $30 mln. Projected Q1 revenue of $1.07 bln to $1.11 bln exceeds Street view by $30 mln.

(+) MDVN, Said its Enzalutamide drug candidate demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the risk of death and delayed disease progression during Phase III testing in men with metastatic prostate cancer.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) PGNX, Study summary posted online ahead of a company presentation on Thursday showed two patients died of sepsis during Phase II testing of its prospective treatment for prostate cancer.

(-) CRUS, Shares fall for a second day the chip-maker forecast revenue during the current quarter trailing the Wall Street consensus. The stock also declined Tuesday after Apple Inc ( AAPL ) - which has been responsible for over 80% of the company's sales - forecast iPhone sales missed Wall Street expectations in the March quarter.

(-) BCA, Agrees to $2.88 bln merger of its operations in Chile and Columbia with Itau ( ITUB ), with BCE acquiring ITUB's Chilean business in exchange for 172 million newly issued BCE shares. ITUB also will invest $652 million in the newly formed bank.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , ITUB

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