Closing Update: Stocks Drift Lower As Ukraine, Middle East Re-Capture Investor Attention

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Stocks drifted lower Thursday, snapping a three-day winning streak for the major averages as investor attention was instead diverted by renewed tensions along Ukraine's border with Russia. Equities pared some of their losses in afternoon trade before again giving in to light profit-taking. Consumer stocks were the worst performers, dragged under by disappointing earnings by several retailers, including Williams-Sonoma ( WSM ), Gordmans Stores ( GMAN ) and Tilly's ( TLYS ). Mining and materials stocks were one of the few winners today, with geo-political concerns boosting demand for gold.

NATO today confirmed western worries over Russian activities along the Ukrainian border, this afternoon saying satellite photographs show Russian troops inside the former Soviet republic. Conflicts in the Middle East also rattled investors, with President Obama today meeting with his national security team ahead of a public address on the Islamic State threat scheduled shortly after the closing bell.

Economic data today was most market-friendly with the second estimate of Q2 gross domestic product coming in with a 4.2% reading, beating the market consensus expecting a 4.0% rise. The Q4 GDP Deflator was revised higher to 2.1% from 2.0%.


First-time jobless claims declined by 1,000 to 298,000 applications, surprising Wall Street which was looking for 2,000 rise. Continuing claims rose to 2.527 million from 2.502 million.

Crude oil for October delivery settled 67 cents higher at $94.55 per barrel while October natural gas rose 4 cents to finish at $4.04 per 1 million BTU. December gold rose $7.00 to $1,283.50 per ounce, with September silver adding 11 cents to settle at $19.52 per ounce. September copper declined 5 cents to $3.13 per pound.

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 42.44 (-0.25%) to 17,079.57

S&P 500 down 3.38 (-0.17%) to 1,996.74

Nasdaq Composite Index down 11.93 (-0.26%) to 4,557.69

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 0.48%

Hang Seng Index down 0.71%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.62%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.36%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) SGOC, Announces new on-line sales platform on JD.com ( JD ) to accelerate delivery of high-quality service and products.

(+) DGLY, Michigan State Police orders more than $1.1 mln in new equipment slated to ship before the end of Q3. The Michigan state patrol also extends, expands a prior contract by another $2 mln to a total of $6.5 mln.

(+) OTIV, Receives order worth at least $800,000 to supply its Saturn 6500 NFC readers to a U.S.-based channel partner serving the North American self-service market. Contract value can rise to $1.6 million if all options are filled.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) GOMO, Falls to all-time low after Q2 EPS of $0.09 lags Street by $0.05 while $16.1 mln in revenue was $600,000 shy of estimates. Also, CFO Winston Li quits. Stock today cut to Perform from Outperform with a $22 price target at Oppenheimer.

(-) WSM, Offers weak Q3, FY14 outlooks. Q3 EPS forecast and FY14 earnings guidance both lag consensus view by at least $0.03 per share. Projected revenue for both periods were in-line with estimates. Q2 revenue trailed Street by $10 mln.

(-) FRO, Warns it may not be able to generate enough cash from operations to repay a $190 million convertible bond loan coming due next April, citing "challenging" market conditions. All debt and lease obligations total $1.031 bln.



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: WSM , GMAN , TLYS , JD

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As of 12/19/2014, 10:49 AM


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