Closing Update: Stocks Lose More Ground After Fed Minutes Show Some FOMC Members Would Speed Tapering

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Stocks closed lower Wednesday, giving back small gains earlier in the session after minutes from the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed some policy-makers at the nation's central bank would accelerate cutting back on their stimulus efforts if unemployment continues its recent declines. Shares had posted small gains earlier in the day, resisting new data finding housing starts fell 16% last month from December levels.

The Commerce Department today reported January housing starts slid to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 880,000, down 16.0% from an upwardly revised 1.048 million annualized pace during the prior month. Builders pulled 937,000 permits last month, 5% fewer than December levels.

Also today, producer prices were up a benign 0.2% last month, the Labor Department said, while the core rate excluding energy and food also rose 0.2% last month. Wall Street had been expecting a rise of 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.


Crude oil for March delivery added 94 cents to settle at $103.46 per barrel while March natural gas surged another 61 cents today to a four-year high at $6.15 per 1 million BTU. Gold and silver extended their losses following the Federal Reserve minutes, with March gold falling $4 to settle at $1,320.60 per ounce while March silver slid 5 cents to $21.85 per ounce. March copper was unchanged at $3.29 per pound.

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 89.84 (-0.56%) to 16,040.56

S&P 500 down 12.01 (-0.65%) to 1,828.75

Nasdaq Composite Index down 34.83 (-0.82%) to 4,237.95

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index up 0.34%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.11%

FTSE 100 Index unchanged

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) FB, Shares hit new all-time high, with the social networking company's market capitalization rising past $175 billion, topping Coca-Cola ( KO ) and AT&T ( T ). The stock is now up 25% since the start of the year and is ahead 48% over past three months.

(+) NBR, Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.21 per share, down from $0.28 in the year-ago period but beating analyst expectations by $0.01 per share. Revenue declined 1.3% to $1.61 bln., beating Thomson Reuters consensus by $65.7 mln.

(+) ZLC, Signet ( SIG ) confirms $900 mln cash buyout offer for the rival jewelry retailer, with ZLC shareholders receiving $21 a share in cash for each share they now own - a 40.8% premium over Tuesday's closing price. SIG also posts double-digit gains.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) GNK, Enters into a limited waiver of default with lenders after yesterday missing a scheduled $3.2 million, semi-annual interest payment on its 5.00% convertible senior notes due Aug. 15, 2015. The dry-bulk shipper has 30 days to pay up without triggering a default.

(-) SM, Adjusted Q4 earnings of $1.26 per share trails analyst projections by $0.20. Revenue climbs 43% to $636.7 mln, beating Capital IQ consensus by $24.3 mln. Also today, KeyBlanc downgrades the stock to Hold from Buy following the earnings miss last night. The research shop also removed its price target for the stock.

(-) NPSP, Jefferies cuts investment rating to Hold from Buy with a $38 price target. Downgrade follows biotech firm reversing year-ago net loss, posting EPS of $0.07, also topping Street view by $0.05 per share. Revenue doubles from year-ago period to $54.5 mln, topping estimates by $9.43 mln.



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: KO , T , SIG

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As of 6/2/2015, 04:15 PM


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