Stock Market News for February 24, 2014 - Market News

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Benchmarks ended in the red zone on Friday after the Federal Reserve indicated that it may not curtail the pace of tapering.  Also, dismal existing home sales data and futures and options expiration dragged the markets down.  Investors also had to focus on certain dismal corporate earnings results. The indices ended the week with losses, while S&P 500 fell short of its record high set on January 15.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) lost 0.2% to close Friday's trading session at 16103.30. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) too declined 0.2% to finish at 1836.25. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.1% to 4263.41.  The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 0.7% to settle at 14.68. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 3.4 billion shares. Despite the fall, advancers outpaced the decliners on the NYSE as for 55% stocks that gained, 41% declined. 

For the week, the Dow slipped 0.3% and the S&P 500 dipped 0.1%. However, the Nasdaq gained 0.5%.

The S&P 500 had surged to within three points of a record high. However, indices had to decline as Fed officials indicated that the central bank is willing to continue reductions in the asset purchase program.  Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said: "It is my firm belief that the fault in our economy lies not in monetary policy but in a reckless and feckless federal government that simply cannot get its fiscal and regulatory policy geared so as to encourage business to take the copious amount of money we at the Fed have created and put it to work creating jobs and growing our economy".

Markets were also negatively impacted by disappointing existing home sales data released by National Association of Realtors. Sales of existing homes fell 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in January from 4.87 million in December. The fall was below the consensus estimate of 4.69 million for the current period. Harsh winter weather, decline in affordability and low inventories were cited as the prime factors for this downturn. The existing home sales were also down to their lowest level in about a year.

On the earnings front, Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN ) saw its shares plummet 22%, the most in a year, after the company reported fourth-quarter loss of 12 cents. Also, Groupon expects to report loss of 4 cents to 2 cents for the first quarter of 2014. This guidance lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings of 2 cents.

Stocks of the largest US pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX ) fell 4% after reporting fourth quarter results. Excluding special items, but including amortization expenses, earnings per share came in at 72 cents compared to 67 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) fell 0.4% and key stocks such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB ), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC ) and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ ) plunged 1.1%, 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.3%, respectively.

Stocks from the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) such as J P Morgan Chase & Co. Depositor (NYSE:JPM-PA), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C ) gained 0.1%, 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively.

The Consumer Discret Select Sector SPDR (XLY) gained 0.2%. Stocks from the sector such as The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS ), McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD ), The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD ) and priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ: PCLN ) rose 1.2%, 0.75, 0.3% and 2.5%, respectively. The biggest loser was Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) as it declined 0.8%. Major stocks from the sector such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM ), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX ) and Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE: SLB ) dropped 0.4%, 1.7% and 1.1%, respectively.



APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report

CHEVRON CORP (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report

EXPRESS SCRIPTS (ESRX): Free Stock Analysis Report

FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report

GROUPON INC (GRPN): Free Stock Analysis Report

HOME DEPOT (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report

HEWLETT PACKARD (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis Report

INTEL CORP (INTC): Free Stock Analysis Report

MCDONALDS CORP (MCD): Free Stock Analysis Report

PRICELINE.COM (PCLN): Free Stock Analysis Report

EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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.



This article appears in: Investing , US Markets

Referenced Stocks: XLK , XLF , XLY , XLE , AAPL

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