The stock markets in the United States declined due to report that the country’s overall economic data have been short of expectations by the most in six years.

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The Bloomberg U.S. Economic Surprise Index, which measures whether data beat or missed estimates declined to the lowest level since the economic crisis in 2009.

Market News

On the other hand, the Citigroup economic surprise indexes for the world indicated the United Stated is the most disappointing relative to consensus estimates followed by Latin America and Canada as pf March 12.

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Market News

The University of Michigan, Index of Consumer Sentiment showed that the preliminary result for March 2015 was 91.2, down from 95.4 last month. On the other hand, the Department of Commerce reported that retail sales declined 0.6% on February compared with 0.4% increase expected by economists.

In a noted to investors, Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics commented, “There is no denying that the lack of evidence of a pick-up of consumption growth is disappointing given the boost to purchasing power from lower energy prices. But even though we haven’t seen it feeding through yet, we do still expect to see that acceleration soon.”

The Institute of Supply Management, Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for February was 52.9%, down by 0.6% from 53.5% on January. The orders index was 52.5%, a decline of 0.4% from 52.9% in the previous month while the production index was 53.7%, lower by 2.8% from 56.5% on January.

Not all of the recent U.S. economic data are disappointing. The Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate in the country declined to 5.5% after the economy added 295,000 jobs last month, a sign that the labor market continues to improve.

John Hopkins University Professor, Jonathan Wright commented that the weak economic data should give the Federal Open Markets Committee a reason to wait before implementing interest rate hikes.

Analysts reduced their U.S. growth forecasts for the first quarter. JP Morgan Chase dropped its estimate 2% while Barclays Capital to 1.5%.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,749.31 (-0.82%)
  • S&P 500- 2,053.40 (-0.61%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,871.76 (-0.44%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,232.71 (-0.32%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,656.21 (+0.41%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,740.58 (-0.30%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,901.61 (+0.87%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,254.25 (+1.39%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,823.21 (+0.11%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,617.66 (+0.69%)

Stocks in Focus

The shares of Anacor Pharmaceuticals increased more than 14% to $55.66 per share after reporting improved financial performance for the fourth quarter. Its financial results were driven by the FDA approval for Kerydin, a topical toenail fungus treatment for onychromycosis.

There are 36 million people affected by this condition.  Anacor partnered with Sandoz, a unit of Novartis to commercialize Kerydin. This year alone, the companies equally shared gross profit of more than $50 million from the sales of Kerydin in the United States.

The stock price of Herbalife gained more than 8% to $35.96 per share driven by the report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is questioning people affiliated with Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management regarding its campaign against Herbalife. Authorities are investigating a potential manipulation ion the share of Herbalife.

In an interview with CNBC, Ackman said, he has not traded around his short position in Herbalife. “Anyone at the government is welcome to look at how we traded this, he said.”

The stock price of Valeant Pharmaceuticals climbed more than 2% to $197.43 per share following reports that the company is planning to increase its offer to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals. The company intends to work with Pershing Square Capital Management and other large shareholders to increase its bid to more than $160 per share.

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