It's beginning to feel like deja vu all over again, as downbeat
economic rumblings out of western Europe have begun pressuring U.S.
equities, with Italian political uncertainty taking the spotlight
off Cyprus today. As a result the Dow Jones Industrial Average,
which had topped out record highs yesterday, fell sharply at the
open, pulling the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes with it, although
the indexes have managed to pare their losses, pushing to their
best levels of the day in recent dealings.
Stocks in Europe tumbled after efforts to form an Italian
coalition government failed. The head of Italy's center-left
alliance, Pier Luigi Bersani, ruled out forming a coalition
government and said that only an "insane person" would want to
govern Italy and that the country is a "mess". Italy is still
struggling to form a government following February's inconclusive
Elsewhere in Europe, Cypriot authorities were expected to
announce capital controls later Wednesday in preparation for the
country's supposed reopening of the country's banks on Thursday.
The banks have been shuttered since March 16th to prevent a mass
withdrawal, with market volatility anticipated tomorrow once they
On the domestic front, uptrending home sales -- a key driver of
overall market strength during the current bull run -- disappointed
slightly to the downside this morning, posting an 0.4% decline in
February, contributing to the negative tone.
Looking ahead, four Federal Reserve presidents -- Boston Fed
President Eric Rosengren, Cleveland Fed President Sandra
Pianalto,Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, and
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans -- will speak today.
European exchanges are lower across the board as extreme
uncertainty in Cyprus and Italy weigh on those bourses, while Asian
exchanges traded fractionally higher.
Commodity prices were mixed, with oil down $0.45, at $95.89 a
barrel. Natural gas pushed through the $4 mark, up $0.063 to $4.054
per million BTUs.
Gold futures were up $5.90 at $1603.20 per ounce, while silver
slipped $0.204 to $28.475 per ounce. Copper was up $0.0015 to
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite down 33.52 (-0.37%) to 9,050.18
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 41.31 (-0.28%) to
S&P 500 down 3.78 (-0.24%) to 1,559.99
Nasdaq Composite Index down 5.30 (-0.16%) to 3,247.19
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.18%
Hang Seng Index up 0.69%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.14%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.24%
DAX down 1.02%
CAC 40 down 1.06%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 55.13 (-0.42%) at
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 32.89 (-0.60%) to
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 17.41 (-0.20%) to
(+) UTSI (+19.9%) Issue spikes on report that shareholder Shah
Capital Management on Wednesday offered to buy the company's
outstanding shares for $3.20 apiece.
(+) TROV (+6.4% at $6.12 but off a day high $6.69) Shares rise
after the company says its urine-based HPV-HR assay, a molecular
human papillomavirus (HPV) test is now commercially available. The
non-invasive test s designed to accurately identify the presence or
absence of 15 known high-risk HPV strains using proprietary DNA
(+) RVLT (+41%) Stock brightens to new 52-week top of $2.50
after the company introduced a new lighting product. The 15-watt
tube lamp from LED manufacturer Seesmart, which was acquired by
Revolution Technologies in December, is a four-foot T8 lamp,
utilizing the lowest wattage and generating the highest light
output in its category. The tube can be rotated to create
customizable lighting angles.
(-) ALLT (-2.3%) Shares touch 52-week lows. According to
Bloomberg, the reason for the plunge is speculation that the
European recession is limiting orders to the company.
(-) ASTM (-36.5%) Stock craters to a new 52-week low after the
company announced it was cutting about half of its workforce and
making a strategic change in research and development programs.
(-) GV (-15.3% at $4.43 but above a day low $4.07) Issue
tarnished after the company yesterday reported net income increased
in 2012 to $0.47 per share from $0.03 per share in 2011. Revenue
was $81.6 million in 2012 from $32.8 million the prior year.