Benchmarks snapped a four-day winning streak and ended lower
on Thursday as investors adopted a wait and watch approach ahead
of Friday's nonfarm payroll data. Economic data came in
mixed, hardly impacting the cautious stance of investors. These
reports included better service sector data, higher weekly
jobless claims and an increase in the U.S. trade deficit.
Declines in bio-tech and momentum stocks had a negative impact on
the Nasdaq Composite Index.
For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure
to read today's
Ahead of Wall Street
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped a meager 0.5
points to close Thursday's trading session at 16,572.55. The
Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) fell 0.1% to finish at
1,888.77. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index finished at
4,237.74, down 0.9%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)
went up 2.1% to settle at 13.37. Total volume for the day was
roughly 6.0 billion shares, lower than this month's average of
6.4 billion. Advancing stocks were outnumbered by declining
stocks on the NYSE. For 39% stocks that advanced, 57% declined.
Markets slipped on Thursday as investors were cautious ahead of
Friday's monthly non-farm payroll report. The total non-farm
payroll accounts for approximately 80% of the workers who produce
the entire gross domestic product of the United States. It is
used by government policy makers and economists to determine the
current state of the economy and predict future levels of
The Nasdaq Composite Index ended in the red due to a drop in
bio-tech stocks. Shares of bio-tech companies such as Biogen Idec
), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:
) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:
) plunged 2.5%, 4.4% and 1.5%, respectively. Overall, the Health
Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) fell 0.2%.
Momentum stocks also dragged the Nasdaq down. Shares of momentum
stocks such as electric car maker Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:
), online movie rental company Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:
) and social media giant Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:
) plummeted 2.1%, 2.3% and 5.2%, respectively. Momentum stocks
are those which are generally favored by the investors.
On the economic front, according to data from the Institute for
Supply Management, its Non-Manufacturing Index for March
increased 1.5 percentage points to 53.1% from February's reading
of 51.6%. This was the highest monthly change since 1998.
However, this rise was less than the consensus expectation of an
increase to 53.4%. The ISM Employment gauge also increased to
53.6% in March from 47.5% in February.
Separately, the U.S Department of Labor reported that seasonally
adjusted initial claims increased 16,000 to 326,000 in the week
ending March 29. This rise in application for unemployment
benefits reached the highest level in a month. The rise was also
more than the consensus expectations of initial claims increasing
Additionally, the U.S. trade deficit rose to a five-month high in
February. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic
Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, reported that goods
and services deficit had increased to $42.3 billion in February
from $39.3 billion in January. Exports in February decreased $2.0
billion to $190.4 billion, while imports increased $1.0 billion
to $232.7 billion.
Five out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the green. The
Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) led the advance as the sector
rose 0.7%. Key stocks from the sector such as Schlumberger
), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:
), EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE:
), Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:
) and Phillips 66 (NYSE:
) increased 0.4%, 0.5%, 1.6%, 14.5% and 1.7%, respectively.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) led the decline as the
sector fell 0.5%. Major stocks from the sector such as Apple Inc.
), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:
), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:
) and Oracle Corporation (NYSE:
) fell 0.7%, 0.8%, 0.4% and 1.9%, respectively.
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
ANADARKO PETROL (APC): Free Stock Analysis
BIOGEN IDEC INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis
EOG RES INC (EOG): Free Stock Analysis Report
FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis
INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis
MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis
NETFLIX INC (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis
OCCIDENTAL PET (OXY): Free Stock Analysis
PHILLIPS 66 (PSX): Free Stock Analysis Report
SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis
TESLA MOTORS (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis
VERTEX PHARM (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.