Stocks are falling again today as sentiment remains cautious.
S&P 500 futures are down about one-third of percent, following
losses of half a percent to a full percentage point in Europe. Both
are trying to recover in the last 30 minutes. Asian markets were
mixed overnight, though Shanghai and Tokyo rebounded from
If the S&P finishes lower today, it would mark the first time
this year that the index has declined in three straight sessions.
While there is no news causing the weakness, the catalyst appears
to be worry that an improving U.S. economy will cause the Federal
Reserve to scale back monetary stimulus.
Adding to that concern is the possibility of profit-taking with the
S&P 500 already up 16 percent so far this year. Investors may
also be reluctant to put money to work before the long Memorial Day
weekend. In addition, yesterday afternoon brought poor quarterly
results or outlooks from companies including Salesforce.com and
The S&P 500 closed yesterday's session down less than one-third
of a percent after dropping more than a full percent shortly after
the open. Price performance within the market was unusually
positive for a negative session, with aggressive sectors like small
caps, transports, materials and energy all strong.
There have also been potentially bullish signs from Europe, with
manufacturing data strong earlier in the week and Germany's Ifo
survey of business sentiment better than expected today. The euro
is advancing against the U.S. dollar, as well.
Other currencies are painting a more cautious picture as the
Japanese yen rallies across the board. Oil is down about half a
percent, though copper is trying to eke out gains. Precious metals
are down fractionally.
In company-specific news, CRM fell 7 percent after earnings failed
to beat expectations and its outlook for the current quarter
trailed estimates. SHLD is down 14 percent after missing revenue
estimates and reporting a much-wider loss than analysts had feared.
Semiconductor stock Marvell Technology and online-music company
Pandora Media, on the other hand, are both up after quarterly
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