Midday Update: Lackluster Q1 Earnings Forecasts Spooks Wall Street
Wall Street is continuing Friday's sell-off as gloomy earnings forecasts and valuation concerns dominate Monday trade. Consumer discretionary stocks are the worst performers, followed by shares of financial and energy companies.
A dearth of economic data this week has investors instead concentrating on Q1 earnings, which are expected to underperform due to harsh winter weather during much of the January-to-March period. Overall, analysts are expecting company earnings to grow less than 2% during Q1 - down from forecasts at the start of the year looking for 6.5% growth.
European markets were lower as well, posting their biggest declines in three weeks despite upbeat production data from Germany and Spain. Retailers were hit especially hard in the UK, followed by heavy losses in homebuilding and tech stocks.
Crude oil was down $0.34 to $100.80 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.06 to $4.50 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $3.20 to $1,300.30 an ounce, while silver was up $0.02 to $19.97 an ounce. Copper was up $0.02 to $3.05 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.19% to $36.36 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.66% to $25.10. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.08% to 24.52 while SPDR Gold Shares was down 0.19% to $125.33. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.32% to $19.22.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 99.41 (-0.95%) to 10,417.63
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 132.09 (-0.80%) to 16,280.62
S&P 500 down 17.51 (-0.94%) to 1,847.58
Nasdaq Composite Index down 50.04 (-1.21%) to 4,077.68
Nikkei 225 Index down 1.69%
Hang Seng Index down 0.59%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.74%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.10%
CAC 40 down 1.08%
DAX down 1.91%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.81%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.09%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 1.03%
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