Investor pocketed their 2014 profits Wednesday afternoon,
dragging the three benchmark indices lower on the final day of an
overwise prosperous year - the markets' sixth year in a row to
close with gains. The sell-off picked up momentum over the final
hour today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by triple
digits and leaving the blue-chip average to begin 2015 trade below
its recent 18,043 high. The S&P 500 also lost ground today, but
like the Dow, will start the new year within close range of its
Stocks got an early boost after the National Association of
Realtors reported an 0.8% rise in pending home sales during
November over the prior month and a 4.1% gain over year-ago levels.
Pending sales rose in every region except the Midwest, where the
number of buyers signed contracts for new homes slipped 0.4% from
Wednesday's sell-off was broad based, with all 10 of the
industry sectors in the S&P 500 posting declines. The
high-flying tech sector saw some of today's steepest slide as
investors sought to book a portion of the year's gain. Health care
and utility stocks also came in for relatively heavy selling.
Shares of energy companies also fell, were finished well above
their session lows as crude oil pared its decline late in the
Crude oil for February delivery settled 85 cents lower at $53.27
per barrel while front-month natural gas futures fell 21 cents to
$2.89 per 1 million BTU. February gold declined $16.30 at $1,183.90
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 160.00 (-0.89%) to
S&P 500 down 21.45 (-1.03%) to 2,058.90
Nasdaq Composite Index down 41.39 (-0.87%) to 4,736.05
Hang Seng Index up 0.44%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 2.18%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.29%
(+) NRX, Completes safety studies of its Pyridorin drug
candidate to treat diabetic kidney disease, with the drug showing
no effect on normal heart function.
(+) AVRW, Agrees to $190 mln buyout offer from Pacific Ethanol (
), which will issue 17.75 mln shares of its stock, valuing AVRW at
around $10.70 a share, a 19% premium over Tuesday's closing price.
PEIX recently was down 0.8% a $10.63 a share.
(+) SIBC, Agrees to $520 mln all-cash take-over offer from First
NBC Bank Holding Co. (
), which will pay $21.25 in cash for each SIBC share they current
own. NBCB expects deal will boost 2015 EPS by 2.3% and 2016 EPS by
4.4% over current projections.
(-) AMZG, Suspends 2015 drilling budget with no plans to resume
improve. During Q1, AMZG expects to complete work on Byron 4-4,
Shelley Lynn 4-4N wells at an estimated cost of $4.5 mln.
(-) SANW, Raises combined $31.7 mln, placing $27 mln of secured
debentures due 2017 convertible at $5.00 per share plus warrants to
buy 2.7 mln shares at $5 apiece. Also places 1.29 mln shares with
MFP Partners at $3.60 each, raising $4.7 mln.
(-) PERI, Cut to Neutral from Buy in a downgrade at Chardan