Midday Update: Stocks Broadsided by Interest Rate Jitters, Global Economic Shocks, Geo-Political Events

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A jumble of negative geo-political and economic events is fueling a sell-off in the U.S. equity markets, wiping out all of July's gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 and pushing both below their 50-day moving averages. Among the factors driving stocks lower today were Argentina's bond default last night, harsh rhetoric from Ukraine towards Russia and renewed worries over Portugal's banking system along with recent employment reports rekindling worries the Federal Reserve will increase U.S. interest rates sooner than expected.

On the earnings front, losers outnumbered gainers on Thursday with positive earnings from Exxon ( XOM ), Time Warner Cable ( TWC ) and Avon ( AVP) overshadowed by disappointing results from Yelp ( YELP ), Yum Brands ( YUM ), Whole Foods Market ( WFM ) and Murphy Oil (MUR).

The economic data was a mixed bag with initial jobless claims rising by a greater-than-expected 23,000 to 302,000, but the second quarter employment cost index improving by 0.7%, beating estimates for a 0.5% gain. Finally, the Chicago purchasing managers index tumbled to 52.6, worse than the modest gain to 63.2 Wall Street was expecting.


In Europe, equities are sharply lower as well as geo-political worries take center stage, magnified by record loss for Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo, disappointing inflation indicators and warnings from a member of the Bank of England that global economic shocks could undermine the UK economy.

Crude oil was down $1.16 to $99.13 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.07 to $3.85 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $7.60 to $1,289.10 an ounce, while silver was down $0.07 to $20.53 an ounce. Copper was down $0.01 to $3.23 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.46% to $36.71 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 2.21% to $21.24. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.64% 26.02 while SPDR Gold Shares was down 0.70% to $123.96. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.53% to $19.68.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 166.97 (-1.53%) to 10,762.82

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 226.27 (-1.34%) to 16,654.09

S&P 500 down 31.86 (-1.62%) to 1,938.21

Nasdaq Composite Index down 88.83 (-1.99%) to 4,374.08

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 0.16%

Hang Seng Index up 0.10%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.93%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.64%

CAC 40 down 1.53%

DAX down 1.94%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index down 1.25%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.42%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 1.51%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) WWE (+4.30%) Smaller than expected Q2 loss, revenue beats estimates.

(+) LPSN (+17.91%) Reports better-than-expected Q2.

(+) AVP (+3.81%) Reported loss for Q2 , but CEO expects improvement in 2H 2014.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) OCN (-9.84%) Profit declines year-over-year.

(-) QUIK (-21.81%) Beats on earnings and revenue estimates, but issues weak guidance.

(-) HGG (-16.24%) Q2 loss widens more than expected, sales miss forecasts.

(-) GLUU (-19.13%) Drops on profit-taking after strong Q2, guidance.



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: XOM , TWC , YELP , YUM , WFM

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As of 12/17/2014, 04:15 PM


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