Today, the stock markets in the United States dropped primarily due to weak manufacturing data from China. Investors also continue to evaluate the financial results of corporations. The S&P 500 suffered its first decline in three days.

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John Canally, economic strategist at LPL Financial Corp told Bloomberg, “The concern from the market this morning is because of the weak China PMI data. It’s been kind of a slow start to earnings season. The initial tone hasn’t been great.”

On the other hand, Chris Bouffard, chief investment officer of Mutual Fund Store opined, “China has been the growth story for the better part of 10 or 15 years, and all of a sudden we’re starting to see contraction. That’s going to take a while for market participants to get comfortable with.”

The Department of Labor reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits was 326,000 for the week the ended January 18. The average estimate of economist expected that 330,000 people would apply for unemployment benefits during the period.

On the other hand, data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed that home prices in the United States increased 0.1% in November, an indication that the growth of the housing marking is slowing down. A separate report indicated that the number of purchases for previously owned homes increased in December.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,186.79 (-1.14%)
  • S&P 500- 1,825.63 (-1.04%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,209.08 (-0.80%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,169.65 (-0.99%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,117.08 (-1.08%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,773.28 (-0.78%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,631.04 (-0.92%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,695.89 (+0.16%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,733.90 (+0.21%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,231.89 (-0.53%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) fell more than 8% to as low as $12.80 per share after the company announced the departure of its CEO, Robert Hanson. According to the retailers, its executive chairman Jay Schottenstein will take over the responsibilities of Hanson on an interim basis.

The shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) declined to as low as $62.33 per share today after Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate allegations that the company is a pyramid scheme.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) gained more than 16% to as much as $395.54 per share propelled by its outstanding financial results for the fourth quarter. The online video streaming company also projected that its membership will increase this quarter to 48 million. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) posted $48 million net income or $0.78 earnings per share and its revenue was $1.18 billion.