Midday Update: Wall Street Sees Red As Data Keeps Tapering Fears in Forefront; Consumer Spending Worries Re-Emerge
Stocks are falling dramatically today, after bullish economic data pushed Treasury yields to two-year highs and reignited fears of a liquidity crunch within the equity markets. Disappointing earnings from Wal-Mart ( WMT ) and Cisco ( CSCO ) also had a negative impact amid worries of consumers cutting discretionary spending. The Dow Industrials has fallen over 200 point, tumbling to a six-week low - its sharpest one-day decline in nearly two months.
Today's deluge of data was mixed, although it was the unexpected 15,000 drop in initial jobless claims that drew the most attention and fueled worries the Federal Reserve could begin tapering its bond-buying program next month.
Inflation data matched expectations with both the nominal and core-CPI increasing 0.2%. The New York Fed survey of manufacturing activity in the state declined to a 8.24 reading this month from a 9.46 reading in July and running counter to the consensus looking for a slightly improvement to 10.0. Industrial production was unchanged and capacity utilization fell to a 77.6 score, both coming in below estimates.
However, home-builder sentiment rose another 3 points to a 59 reading, its highest mark in eight years. It also topped estimates for a small decline to 56. Finally, the Philly Fed survey slipped to 9.3 from 19.8 the month prior and falling below estimates for a 15.0 reading.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE index was initially supported by better than expected retail sales data, but the gains were erased by heavy pressure on US markets, causing European bourses to trade lower in sympathy.
Crude oil was up $0.45 to $107.35 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.06 to $3.54 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $7.20 to $1,326.30 an ounce, while silver was up $0.09 to $21.88 an ounce. Copper was down $0.03 to $3.31 per pound.
Among energy ETFs , the United States Oil Fund was up 0.58% to $38.31 while the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.47% to $17.95. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.47% to 28.58 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.41% to $128.44. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.31% to $21.16.
Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 104.13 (-1.09%) to 9,489.37
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 188.15 (-1.23%) to 15,149.51
S&P 500 down 19.86 (-1.18%) to 1,665.53
Nasdaq Composite Index down 48.92 (-1.33%) to 3,620.35
Nikkei 225 Index down 2.12%
Hang Seng Index down 0.01%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.87%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.58%
CAC 40 down 0.51%
DAX down 0.73%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.28%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.25%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.94%
(+) KSS (+4.96%) Retailer's Q2 revenue rises 2% year over year; earnings in-line with estimates.
(+) EL (+5.02%) The company beat earnings expectations by $0.03 per share.
(+) A (+2.73%) Raises its FY earnings guidance
(-) CSCO (-6.77%) Q4 earnings comr in better than expected but news the company was cutting 5% of workforce unnerves traders.
(-) WMT (-2.16%) World's largest retailer lowers its FY13 outlook; Q2 same-store sales slide 0.3%
(-) MPW (-5.96%) Prices 10 million share offering