Stock Market News for March 06, 2014 - Market News


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Benchmarks finished Wednesday's trading session nearly flat as investors received discouraging economic reports. Modest expansion in economic conditions, greater-than-expected fall in ISM Services Index and dismal private sector hiring were overlooked as an outcome of the bitter winter season. Investors also remained focused on the recent developments in Ukraine.

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 Wednesday's trading session at 16,360.18. The Standard & Poor (S&P 500) declined marginally, by 0.01% to finish at 1873.81. However, the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1% to 4,357.97. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 1.5% to settle at 13.89. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 3.3 billion shares. Advancing stocks were outnumbered by declining stocks on the NYSE. For 47% stocks that advanced, 49% declined.

On the domestic front, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicated that economic conditions expanded moderately in most of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. However, New York and Philadelphia experienced a slight decline in economic activities, citing severe winter weather for their weakness. The rough weather affected retail sales and manufacturing activities in most part of the country.

According to data from the Institute for Supply Management, its Non-Manufacturing Index for February has decreased 2.4 percentage points to 51.6% from January's reading of 54%. The fall was more than economists' expectation of a decrease to 53.8%. The ISM Employment gauge also tumbled to 47.5% in February from a three-year high of 56.4% in January. This was the first contraction in 25 months.

Separately, a report from Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP ) showed private sector hiring was lesser than expected in February due to the harsh winter season. Private-sector jobs increased from 127,000 in January to 139,000 in February. However, this rise in jobs was much less than 205,000 in February, 2013.

Investors also kept a close eye on the updates from Crimea, located in Southern Ukraine. Escalating political tension between Russia and Ukraine had resulted in the worst selloff in about a month on Monday. However, benchmarks bounced back on Tuesday after fears of confrontation between both the parties subsided.

Eighteen of Dow's 30 components ended in the red yesterday. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM ) led the fall as its shares plunged 2.8% to $93.80. The nation's biggest oil company said its production is likely to be flat this year. Delays in projects in Kazakhstan and Australia were cited to be the reason behind flat production estimate.

Five out of ten sectors of the S&P 500 ended in green. Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) led the gains as the sector rose 1.1%. Top holdings from the sector such as Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC ), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM ), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC ) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C ) increased 0.8%, 1.6%, 0.4%, 3.2% and 1.2%, respectively.

Among the declining sectors, Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) led the decline as the sector fell 0.9%. Key stocks from the sector such as Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX ), Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB ), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: OXY ), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP ) and EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE: EOG ) decreased 0.8%, 0.5%, 0.4%, 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively.

AUTOMATIC DATA (ADP): Free Stock Analysis Report

BANK OF AMER CP (BAC): Free Stock Analysis Report

CITIGROUP INC (C): Free Stock Analysis Report

CONOCOPHILLIPS (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report

CHEVRON CORP (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report

EOG RES INC (EOG): Free Stock Analysis Report

JPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report

OCCIDENTAL PET (OXY): Free Stock Analysis Report

SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report

WELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): 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 Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , US Markets
More Headlines for: XLF , XLE , ADP , BAC , C

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