Closing Update: Stocks Continue Skid With Major Indices Starting to Test Technical Benchmarks
Stocks closed sharply lower after largely bullish economic data kept worries over the timing of the Federal Reserve starting to taper its massive bond-buying stimulus programs. The larger-than-expected drop in new jobless claims and other economic reports also pushed Treasury yields to two-year highs this morning, and while yields drifted lower as the session progressed, the equity markets ended near their worst levels of the day.
In addition to the larger-than-expected 15,000 drop in first-time unemployment claims during the week ended Aug. 10, two separate studies of manufacturing activity in New York, Pennsylvania and parts of their surrounding states declined less than most market experts were expecting, convincing traders the Federal Reserve will announce a slow-down in its bond-buying program at the next Federal Open Markets Committee meeting in September.
Disappointing earnings from Wal-Mart ( WMT ) and Cisco ( CSCO ) also had a negative impact, sparking worries consumers are still struggling keeping pace with necessary purchases, much less than more discretionary spending,
Commodities finished higher as traders rotated into other asset classes, lifting shares of mining stocks and limiting declines for shares of energy companies. Crude oil for September delivery settled 48 cents higher at $107.33 per barrel. September natural gas was up 8 cents at $3.42 per 1 million BTU. December gold settled $26.60 higher at $1,359.70 per ounce while September silver rose $1.13 to $22.91 per ounce. September copper was unchanged at $3.34 per pound.
Here's where the U.S. stood at end-of-day:
Dow Industrials down 225.47 (-1.47%) to 15,112.19
S&P 500 down 24.07 (-1.43%) to 1,661.32
Nasdaq Composite down 63.16 (-1.72%) to 3,606.12
Hang Seng Index down 0.01%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.87%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.58%
(+) MMLP, Forms new partnership with Alinda Capital Partners, with Alinda taking a 49% voting stake in the new entity. Shares also pick up support from Raymond James upgrade.
(+) CCCR, Extends post-IPO rally to a second day, adding to yesterday's 91.5% gain for the Chinese microlender.
(+) BIOL, Reverses 34% decline yesterday after CEO refutes rumors the medical-laser company was facing a cash crunch, slashing the size of a proposed stock offering by 83% from $30 million to just $5 million.
(-) MPW, Prices public offering of 10 mln shares at $12.75 each. It also is planning a $150-mln offering of senior notes due 2022, with proceeds used to fund the purchase of three acute-care hospitals from IASIS Healthcare.
(-) CSCO, Adjusted Q4 EPS of $0.52 beats by $0.01. Matches analyst estimates for revenue with 6.2% year over year rise to $12.4 billion but failing to meet the most optimistic expectations looking for 8% growth. Firm also said it will cut workforce by 4,000 jobs, or 5%.
(-) WMT, World's largest retailer lowers its FY13 outlook; Q2 same-store sales slide 0.3%