The stock markets in the United States continued to decline as investors evaluate the sales performance of automakers and retailers prior to the release of economic data this week. Investors are looking for signs as to when the Federal Reserve will start tapering its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program.

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Yesterday, speculations that the Federal Reserve will start reducing its monthly stimulus became stronger based on the latest manufacturing data, which showed an unexpected expansion last month. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) indicated a potential reduction in the stimulus if the economy grows as expected in the minutes of their meeting last October.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management commented, “It’s really a mixed picture right now. In the absence of any bigger data, investors are grasping for these little bits of micro data in trying to develop a conclusion. Any market that’s appreciated as much as the stock market has this year is going to be vulnerable to sell-offs.”

Tomorrow, the Department of Commerce will release its data for new home sales and the Central Bank will release its Beige Book, which contains the anecdotal accounts of policymakers regarding the business activities from the Federal districts. The Department of Labor is also scheduled to release employment data for November this week.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15, 913.79 (-0.59%)
  • S&P 500- 1,795.05 (-0.32%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,037.19 (-0.20%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,121.50 (-0.67%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,013.88 (-2.06%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,532.43 (-0.95%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,223.40 (-1.90%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,749.66 (+0.60%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,910.47 (-0.53%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,442.78 (+0.99%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 2.68% to $566 per share, its highest closing price over the past 52-week range. The increase was driven by reports that the iPhone and iPad maker acquired Topsy Labs, a social media analytics firm, for $200 million.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) gained 5.79% to $35.99 per share amidst calls from activist investor Engaged Capital for a leadership change in the company. The activist investor urged the company to start a CEO search for executives with relevant retail and turnaround experience to replace Michael Jeffries, whose employment contract as chief executive officer of the company is set to expire on February 1 next year.

On the other hand, the stock value of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE:KKD) plunged 20.20% to $19.59 per share after the company reported disappointing revenue for the third quarter. The company generated $114.2 million revenue, lower than the $115 million revenue estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company posted $0.16 adjusted earnings per share.