Stock Market News for March 03, 2017

After reaching all-time highs a day before, benchmarks closed in the red on Thursday following news that federal agents had searched Caterpillar's Illinois office. Moreover, markets cooled with financial sector being the biggest decliner yesterday. Separately, Snapchat registered strong performance after the company gave the biggest initial public offering (IPO) since 2014.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.5%, or 112.58 points to close at 21,002.97. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% to close at 2,381.92. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,861.22, losing 0.7%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 5.8% to settle at 11.81. A total of around 7.4 billion shares were traded on Thursday higher than the last 20-session average of 6.9 billion shares. Decliners significantly outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 71% stocks that declined, 26% advanced.

What Dragged The Benchmarks?

Caterpillar Inc's ( CAT ) shares fell 4.3% following news that federal law enforcement officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and Department of Commerce's Office of Export Enforcement had searched Caterpillar's Illinois facilities. Declines in Caterpillar shaved more than 100 points off the Dow yesterday.

Additionally, investors booked profits which had a negative impact on key S&P 500 sectors. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) decreased 1.6% and was the worst performing sector among the S&P 500. Key component from this sector like Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. ( GS ) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) fell 0.7% and 1.6%, respectively. Goldman Sachs hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and JPMorgan possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, rose 44% after the social media firm finally priced its initial public offering at $17 per share, above the expected range of $14 to $16. Snapchat has been dubbed as the biggest IPO since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba ( BABA ) went public in 2014.

Snap Inc. has offered 200 million Class A shares, which will help it raise $3.4 billion and the company will be valued at nearly $24 billion. Snap Inc. will begin trading on NYSE starting from Mar 2, 2017 under the ticker symbol SNAP. (Read More: Snap Inc Prices Initial Public Offering at $17 Per Share )

Moreover, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said that following an improved domestic and global economy it will be "appropriate soon" for the Fed to increase key interest rates. Also, Fed Governor Jerome Powell said that "the case for a rate increase for March has come together."

In economic news, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial claims declined by 19,000 to a level of 223,000 for the week ending Feb 25. This is the lowest levels witnessed since 1973 and is also below the consensus estimate of 245,000.

Stocks That Made Headlines

Abercrombie Q4 Earnings and Sales Miss Estimates

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. ( ANF ) reported another dismal quarter as fourth-quarter 2016 earnings and sales fell short of expectations and declined year over year. ( Read More )

Costco Earnings and Revenues Miss Estimates in Q2

Costco Wholesale Corporation ( COST ) delivered second straight quarter of negative earnings surprise as it reported second-quarter fiscal 2017. ( Read More )

Delta Air Lines February Traffic Falls, Stock Down

Delta Air Lines ( DAL ) posted a decline in air traffic for the month of Feb 2017. ( Read More )

L Brands Reports Sharp Decline in February Comps

L Brands, Inc. ( LB ) witnessed a decline in comparable sales for the third consecutive month as the company reported February sales numbers. ( Read More )

Equinix Buys Land in Ashburn for IBX Data Center Expansion

Equinix Inc. ( EQIX ) recently purchased 34.5 acres of land in Ashburn for a total consideration. ( Read More )

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Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) (GS): Free Stock Analysis Report

J P Morgan Chase & Co (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF): Free Stock Analysis Report

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

L Brands, Inc. (LB): Free Stock Analysis Report

Equinix, Inc. (EQIX): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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