The stock markets in the United States ended the trading session in the red today primarily due to weak data on new home sales in March. The markets were also negatively affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine due to escalating rhetoric, which shows increasing signs that the agreement reached by diplomats representing both countries as well as the United States and the European Union was a failure.
According to the Department of Commerce, the sales of new single-family homes in the United States declined by 14.5% to 384,000 units on a seasonally adjusted rate in March, the lowest level since July last year. Economists polled by Bloomberg forecasted that the sales of new homes will increase to 450,000.
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The decline in the sales of new homes indicates some fundamental weakness in the market, according to economists. They also noted that the severe winter weather condition also contributed to the weak data.
TD Securities Deputy Chief Economist, Millan Mulraine opined, “The weak tone of this report is a bitter pill for those, including ourselves, who have been looking for signs of a spring thaw in the housing recovery.”
A separate report from Markit Economics indicated that the U.S. Manufacturing preliminary index declined to 55.4% in April, lower than the 56% median estimate of economists polled by Bloomberg.
Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co. commented, “The market has been moving up rather well, and the economic news today was not anything that would drive the market higher at this point.” He added that investors will closely watch the financial results of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) after the market close today. According to him, the performance of both companies can be “market movers.”
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,501.65 (-0.08%)
- S&P 500- 1,875.39 (-0.22 %)
- NASDAQ- 4,126.97 (-0.83%)
- Russell 2000- 1,148.90 (-0.58%)
- EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,175.97 (-0.74%)
- FTSE 100 Index- 6,674.74 (-0.11%)
- Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,544.19 (-0.58%)
Asia Pacific Markets
- Nikkei 225- 14,546.27 (+1.09%)
- Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,509.64 (-0.97%)
- Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,194.67 (-0.10%)
Stocks in Focus
The stock price of Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) declined more than 5% to $113.25 per share after reporting lower-than-expected earnings for the first quarter. The company’s earnings were $1.87 per share compared with the $1.94 per share consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. During the same period a year ago, Amgen delivered $1.94 earnings per share. Its revenue was $4.52 billion, lower than the $4.75 billion expected by analysts.
The shares of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), the second-largest wireless carrier in the United States, dropped over 3% to $34.97 per share despite reporting earnings that meet the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. Yesterday, the company said it earned $0.70 earnings per share on $3.2 billion consolidated revenues.
EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) fell more than 3% to $25.93 per share after the world’s largest manufacturer of storage computers reduced its earnings guidance for this year. The company reported $0.35 earnings per share on $5.5 billion revenue. Its earnings met the consensus estimate while its revenue was higher than expectations. For the year 2014, EMC expects to deliver $1.90 adjusted earnings per share, lower than the $1.94 adjusted earnings per share forecasted by analysts.