The stock markets in the United States dropped despite the retail sales data that showed that the country’s economy is improving. Data from the Department of Commerce showed that U.S. retail sales increased 0.3% in February, higher than the 0.2% rebound estimated by economists.
A separate report from the Department of Labor indicated that the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 to 315,000 last week, the lowest since late November.
U.S. stock markets initially rose because of the positive economic data, but concerns over the weakness in China’s economy and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine overshadowed the improvement in the U.S. economy.
Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc told Bloomberg, “Ongoing concerns about China’s growth and the fluid situation in Ukraine continue to linger on markets. As Kerry meets with his Russian counterpart tomorrow in a last ditch effort to divert the referendum, markets could be a little jittery, and we might be seeing some of that play out today as well.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet on March 18th and 19th. Some economists believed that policymakers will maintain the tapering of the monthly bond-buying program.
Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust Co. said, “After last Friday’s employment numbers, we believed they were worthy of the FOMC continuing to take $10 billion off the table every month. After the March 18-19 meeting, we should be at $55 billion a month.”
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,108.89 (-1.41%)
- S&P 500- 1,846.34 (-1.17%)
- NASDAQ- 4,260.42 (-1.46%)
- Russell 2000- 1,176.74 (-1.23%)
- EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,019.54 (-1.50%)
- FTSE 100 Index- 6,553.78 (-1.01%)
- Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,017.79 (-1.86%)
Asia Pacific Markets
- Nikkei 225- 14,815.98 (-0.10%)
- Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,756.08 (-0.67%)
- Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,140.33 (+1.24%)
Stocks in Focus
The stock price of Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) dropped 4.64% to 166.09 per share as it is affected by worries regarding China’s economic slowdown. Baidu is the largest search engine company in China. Data showed that China’s factory production growth was 8.6% in January and February, the lowest growth rate since 2009.
The shares of Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. (NASDAQ:CHTP) closed at $5.95 per share, up by nearly 14% after Wedbush suggested that it is an attractive target for acquisitions and partnerships for multiple pharmaceutical companies because of the approval of its Northera, a treatment for symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) gained almost 10% to $64.74 a share after the company projected that its same-store sales will grow between 5% and 7% this year. Wall Street analysts estimated that a growth rate of around 3.7%. The company also estimated that its revenue will increase in the range of $4.63 billion to $4.71 billion.