Closing Update: Stocks Turn Negative on Taper Uncertainty, Worries Over Retail Sales, Earnings
Wall Street continued to be plagued by last Friday's weak jobs report and worries that a possible economic slowdown could show up in Q4 earnings. With nearly every sector in the red, the Dow Industrials closed with a triple-digit loss, and at its lowest level in more than three weeks. Energy stocks were hit especially hard by the continued drop in oil prices. The weak tone permeated retailers and financial stocks as well, leading into this week's earnings from JP Morgan ( JPM ), Wells Fargo ( WFC ), and Bank of America ( BAC ).
Although the week will get a deluge of data from retail sales to industrial production, it kicked off with only the December budget statement. The Treasury reported a surplus of $53.2 billion versus expectations for a $44.0 billion surplus. This reverses a $135.2 billion deficit in November.
Here's where the markets stand at the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 179 (-1.1%) to 16,257.94
S&P 500 was down 23 points (-1.3%) to 1,819.20
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 61 points (-1.5%) at 4,113.30
FTSE 100 was up 0.26%
Nikkei 225 was CLOSED
Hang Seng Index was up 0.19%
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.19%
ANLY, Agreed to acquire Merck & Co.'s ( MRK ) Sirna Therapeutics Inc. subsidiary, while it separately announced an expansion to its strategic agreement with Sanofi SA ( SNY ) unit Genzyme to develop and commercialize treatments for rare genetic diseases.
BEAM, To be acquired by Japan's Suntory for $16 billion
MRK Shares rise on hopes for a melanoma drug, MK-3475, sale of its Sirna Therapeutics subsidiary, and details for cost-cutting.
ICPT The company said tests has shown that there was a build-up of "bad cholesterol" from its drug to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, to patients.
LULU Expects Q4 revenue in the range of $513 to $518 million based on comp store sales versus it's previous view was $535-$540 million on flat comp store sales.
GSE GSE Holdings' lenders will waive any actual or potential defaults through March 30 while the company pursues a sale, with proceeds planned to repay debt.