The Dow Jones Industrial Average was sitting pretty at the end of January. And then it wasn't, as a correction hit. Since then it's gone up and down and up again, and the wild swings don't seem likely to end any time soon. With that in mind, we're keeping a semi-live look on the volatile markets. Here's the latest from Barron's reporters...
3:06 p.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to slide this afternoon, and it's not just Boeing (BA) that's doing the damage.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 154.54 points, or 0.6%, to 25,181.20, while the S&P 500 has declined 0.2% to 2782.46, and the Nasdaq Composite has gained 0.4% to 7589.67.
Yes, Boeing's 2.7% drop to $344.95, which has cost the Dow 65.89 points, accounts for the lion's share of the blue-chip benchmark's drop. But Caterpillar (CAT) is responsible for 27.89 points after falling 2.6% to $154.20, and United Technologies' (UTX) 2.1% decline to $131.30 accounts for 19.07 points of the decline. Only Goldman Sachs's (GS) 1.2% rise to $274.11, which accounts for 23 points of upside, comes close to equaling or surpassing those hits.
Industrials are having the worst day by far of any sector. The S&P 500 Industrial Index has dropped 1.2%, while the S&P 500 Health Care Index, the second-biggest loser, has fallen 0.5%. Tech and consumer discretionary, however, have each gained 0.4%, which has helped boost the Nasdaq.
Thankfully, the Dow isn't the market.
11:49 a.m. It's a very light news day, which may help explain why stocks have given back some of their gains this morning. The S&P 500 has is fallen 0.1% to 2785.07, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 113.19 points, or 0.5%, to 25,222.55. The Nasdaq Composite has risen 0.4% to 7587.97.
But just because there's little news, doesn't mean there's no news--or that there even needs to be. The U.S. Treasury will be auctioning off three-year and 10-year notes today, which could cause bond yields to head higher. "There is a lot of trepidation around the lack of demand here, and with the ten year yield at 2.90%, we are watchful," writes Michael Block, chief market Rhino Trading Partners.
Normally, we'd ignore Treasury auctions, but concerns about higher bond yields were one factor in the market's February correction.
Of course, it could just be the typical hangover following a big week. Or it could be Boeing (BA), which had dropped 2.5% to $345.60 for no apparent reason.
Still, "watchful" seems prudent.
8:03 a.m. The market is picking up this morning where it left off last week. S&P 500 futures have risen 0.2%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures have advanced 59 points, 0.2%. Nasdaq Composite futures have gained 0.5%.
Stocks are still responding to Friday's payrolls report, which showed big job gains but minimal wage increases, bout as good as you could hope for. Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, however, notes that the dollar "sat out the Friday exuberance," despite rising interest rates and better-than-expected economic data. "It had every reason to rally and it couldn't," he writes. "The action is thus still bearish dollar and I remain positive on the precious metals and other commodities, particularly ag." The dollar has dropped 0.2% versus the yen this morning, but the euro has dipped 0.1% against the greenback. Gold futures have declined 0.5% to $1,317.30 per ounce.
For now, the market doesn't seem to mind the weaker dollar, which can make U.S. exports more attractive abroad. Don't be surprised, however, if at some point, if the market views its slide as a sign of something darker.