Closing Update: Stocks Turn Broad Lower Late After U.S., Europe Ratchet Up Pressure on Russia

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Stocks turned solidly lower this afternoon, giving back early gains after U.S. and European officials reportedly agreed to impose new sanctions on Russia. Despite new data finding American consumer sentiment this month climbing to its highest level since before the Great Recession officially began in late 2007, investor attitudes also were kept in check by a report again finding a sub-par recovery in the U.S. housing market and the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy-setting meeting today.

After see-sawing between small gains and losses earier in the session, the markets hit the skids after President Obama announced several new moves intended to hurt the Russian economy in response for its continued involvement with anti-government activities in eastern Ukraine. The latest batch of sanctions will block new arms contracts as well as barring exports of goods that can be used for either civilian and military purposes.

"If Russia continues on its current path, the cost on Russia will continue to grow," Obama said, later adding, Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says. The new sanctions also sought to isolate three Russian banks and eight Russian businessmen from accessing western capital as well as curbing exports of energy-related equipment.

Prior to the late-afternoon announcements, industry sectors in the S&P 500 also were split equally between winners and losers, led by shares of health care companies following above-consensus financial results for drug-makers Merck ( MRK ) and Pfizer ( PFE ). Consumer stocks had been trading higher after the Conference Board reported its index of consumer confidence rose to a 90.9 final reading this month, reaching its highest level since October 2007 and topping the market consensus looking for an 85.5 score this month.

Energy stocks also were scratching out small gains after crude oil futures retreated back near the $100 per barrel threshold. Crude oil for September delivery settled 70 cents lower at $100.97 per barrel while August natural rose 6cents to finish at $3.81 per 1 million BTU.

But not all energy stocks rose Tuesday, with BP ( BP ) shares closing over 3% lower after warning new sanctions on Russia over its support for anti-government activists in eastern Ukraine would harm its business ventures in Russia along with its relationship with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company.

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 70.48 (-0.42%) to 16,912.11

S&P 500 down 8.96 (-0.45%) to 1,969.95

Nasdaq Composite Index down 2.21 (-0.05%) to 4,442.70

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index up 0.87%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.24%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.29%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) PGTI, Q2 EPS of $0.16 beats Capital IQ consensus by $0.05 per share. Revenue jumps 30% over year-ago levels to $81.6 mln, beating expectations by around $4.9 mln.

(+) CGNX, Adjusted Q2 net income of $0.32 per share beats by $0.10 per share. Revenue climbs 25.8% year over year to $108.8 mln, topping estimates by $5.3 mln. Sees Q3 revenue in range of $165 mln to $170 mln, topping Street view by at least $22.2 mln.

(+) MDSO, Revenue rises 22.2% year over year to $83.2 mln, beating Street view by $1.3 mln, while EPs of $0.17 matches expectations. Projected FY14 revenue of $340 mln to $345 mln in-line with estimates looking for $341.18 per share.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) GALT, GR-MD-02 experimental liver medication fails to perform better than a placebo during Phase I testing, according to a company presentation included in a regulatory filing today.

(-) TRGT, Discontinues work on its TC-5214 drug candidate to treat overactive bladders after it demonstrated mixed results during Phase IIb testing, failing to reach statistical significance in reducing urinary incontinence compared with a placebo.

(-) AFOP, Q2 revenue grows 27.1% year over year to $24.19 mln, trailing analyst estimates by $990,000. Adjusted EPS of $0.32 beats by $0.01 per share.



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: MRK , PFE , BP

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