The Markets Now: Stocks Lower on Weak Economic Data; Fed Maintains Bond Purchase Pace

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Stocks remained lower today after the release of weaker-than-expected economic data. The Federal Reserve announced after its two-day meeting that it will maintain its current pace of buying $85 billion worth of bonds, and it will lower or raise the amount of purchases as labor market and inflation conditions evolve. The The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) decreased 0.65% to 14,742.61. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 0.60% to 1,587.91, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.60% to 3,308.71.

ADP reported in its National Employment Report that private sector employment increased 119,000 from March to April. The March number reported was revised downward from 158,000 to 131,000. Read the press release here .

The Institute for Supply Management reported today in its Manufacturing Survey that its Purchasing Managers Index, or PMI, fell from 51.3% in March to 50.7% in April. A reading over 50% indicates expansion in manufacturing. Manufacturing activity has increased for five consecutive months. Read the press release here .

Markit Economics reported today that its US Manufacturing PMI fell from 54.6 in March to 52.1 in April. A reading above 50 indicates manufacturing expansion, but April's reading is the lowest it has been in six months. Read the press release here .

The US Census Bureau reported today that construction spending decreased 1.7% from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $871.2 billion in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $856.7 billion in March. Read the press release here .

The Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA, reported today in its Weekly Application Survey that the Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage loan application volume, increased a seasonally adjusted 1.8% week-over-week for the week ended April 26. The Refinance Index increased 3% week-over-week, and the Purchase Index decreased a seasonally 1.4% week-over-week. Read the press release here .

The Energy Information Administration reported today in its Petroleum Status Report that US commercial crude inventories, which excludes the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 6.7 million barrels week-over-week to 395.3 million barrels for the week ended April 26. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week, and distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels. Refineries operated at 84.4% of their operable capacity last week. Read the press release here .

The Autodata Corporation reported today that total light motor vehicles sales decreased to a 15.3 million annual rate in March from a 15.4 million annual rate in February. The annual rate has remained near 15 million for the past five months.

The US Treasury stated in its Quarterly Refunding Statement that it will offer $72 billion of Treasury securities to refund $59.6 billion of securities maturing on May 15. The securities being offered include $32 billion worth of 3-year notes maturing on May 15, 2016; $24 billion worth of 10-year notes maturing May 15, 2023; and $16 billion worth of 30-year bonds maturing on May 15, 2043. Read the press release here . The 3-year notes will be auctioned on May 7; the 10-year notes will be auctioned on May 8; and the 30-year bonds will be auctioned on May 9.

Bank of America ( BAC ) fell 1.26% to $12.16.

Citigroup ( C ) dropped 1.52% to $45.95.

JPMorgan ( JPM ) declined 1.88% to $48.09.

Oracle ( ORCL ) increased 1.40% to $33.24. Oracle has made a strategic minority investment in Proteus Digital Health. The two companies will exclusively work together in clinical trials to help clinical investigators measure information regarding medication ingestion, dose timing, and physiologic responses.

Merck ( MRK ) fell 3.13% to $45.53. Merck reported today that its first-quarter net income decreased from $1.74 billion, or $0.56 per share, in the prior-year quarter to $1.59 billion, or $0.52 per share. Sales decreased 9% from the prior-year quarter to $10.7 billion.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak



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 , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: BAC , C , JPM , MRK , ORCL

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