Investors' anxiety ahead of the referendum vote during the
weekend in Crimea compelled benchmarks to end in the red on
Friday. The tension between Russia and Ukraine along with
concerns over a possible slowdown in China impacted the markets
through this week. The S&P 500 fell below the key technical
level of 1,850 for the second day in a row and the Dow slipped
for the fifth straight day. Both these indices also suffered
their worst weekly declines since late January. Drop in wholesale
prices in February and fall in consumer sentiment in March
somewhat impacted the markets.
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to read today's
Ahead of Wall Street
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 0.3% to close
Friday's trading session at 16,065.67. The Standard & Poor
(S&P 500) too fell 0.3% to finish at 1,841.13. The tech-laden
Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4% to 4,245.40. The fear-gauge
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) surged 9.9% to settle at 17.82. Total
volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 3.3 billion shares.
Declining stocks were outnumbered by advancing stocks on the
NYSE. For 41% stocks that declined, 56% advanced.
For the week, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq fell 2%, 2.4% and
2.1%, respectively. Nasdaq had its worst weekly run since April
last year. Throughout the week, escalating political tension
between Russia and the West over Crimea weighed heavily on the
indexes. Also, concerns over a possible slowdown in China's
economy and less-than-expected growth in Japan's economy had a
negative impact on the markets.
On Friday, US stocks declined as investors focused on the
upcoming vote in Crimea. Citizens of Crimea will decide on Sunday
whether to stay with Ukraine or become part of Russia. Meanwhile,
in response to the violence in Donetsk on Thursday night, Russia
threatened to invade other areas of Ukraine and deployed more
troops into Crimea.
President Barrack Obama had earlier warned Russia to curtail
their aggression over Ukraine; otherwise they will be "forced to
apply costs" to Moscow. However, the U.S. and Russia found "no
common vision" over this ongoing crisis after hours of talk on
Friday. These developments unnerved investors as they moved from
equities and invested in safe haven-assets.
On the domestic front, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that
producer prices fell 0.1% in February for the first time in three
months. This fall was in sharp contrast to the consensus estimate
of wholesale prices increasing by 0.2% in February. Lower profit
margins for clothing retailers and a 1.1% fall in the cost of
gasoline were cited to be the reasons behind the drop in
wholesale prices for the month of February.
The University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters' preliminary
reading of consumer sentiment declined in March and touched the
lowest level in four months. The gauge was at 79.9 in March, less
than the consensus forecast of it rising to 82. Harsh winter
weather affecting the growth of the economy was cited to be the
reason for the dent in investors' sentiment.
Five out of ten sectors of the S&P 500 ended in red. The
Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and the Technology Select
Sector SPDR (XLK) led the decline as both the sectors declined
0.6%. Top holdings from the Financials sectors such as Wells
Fargo & Company (NYSE:
), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:
), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B), Bank of America
) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:
) decreased 0.9%, 1.1%, 0.9%, 2.1% and 0.9%, respectively.
Key stocks from the Technology sector such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:
), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:
), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:
), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:
) and Oracle Corporation (NYSE:
) fell 1.1%, 1.4%, 0.5%, 0.9% and 0.1%, respectively.
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
BANK OF AMER CP (BAC): Free Stock Analysis
CITIGROUP INC (C): Free Stock Analysis Report
GOOGLE INC-CL A (GOOG): Free Stock Analysis
INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis
JPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis
MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis
ORACLE CORP (ORCL): Free Stock Analysis
WELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): Free Stock Analysis
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