The stock markets in the United Stated suffered another decline despite some economic data indicating that the economy continued to expand. Today, the markets were negatively impacted by the poor performance of equities in the industrial sector.

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In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Dan Morris, a global investment strategist at TIAA-CREF Asset Management commented, “The market is vulnerable to some sort of short-term decline, primarily because valuations are stretched. It’s hard to find inexpensive parts of the market.”

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which provides details regarding the current economic condition of the country, indicated that most of the regions and sectors experience continued growth.

Most districts reported an increase in consumer spending, and the labor market remained stable or expanded. Manufacturing also increased, but the growth rates vary across the districts and sectors.

[drizzle]On the other hand, the ADP Research Institute reported that the private sector added 212,000 jobs in February. The firm said small companies created 94,000 jobs, mid-sized and large companies added 63,000 and 56,000 jobs respectively.

ADP’s employment data comes prior to the official report from the Department of Labor, which will be released on Friday. Economists estimated that 235,000 non-farm jobs were added last month. They expect the unemployment rate to decline from 5.7% to 5.6%.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index climbed to 56.9% from 56.7% last month.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,096.90 (-0.58%)
  • S&P 500- 2,098.53 (-0.44%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,967.14 (-0.28%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,230.64 (-0.33%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,583.44 (+0.97%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,919.24 (+0.44%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,130.92 (+0.73%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,703.60 (-0.59%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,465.38 (-0.96%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,530.82 (-0.65%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Alcoa declined almost 4% to $14.59 per share. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) analyst Timna Tanners downgraded her stock rating from Buy to Neutral. The analysts also lowered their price target for the stock from $20 to $17 per share. The analyst explained that the downgrade was due to the worsening aluminum fundamentals.

The shares of Abercrombie & Fitch dropped more than 15% to $20.27 per share after reporting disappointing financial results for the fourth quarter. The company’s net sales declined 14% to $1.12 billion due to a 10% decline in comparable store sales during the quarter.  Its net income was $44.4 million or $0.63 per diluted share compared with $66.1 million or $0.85 per share in the same period a year earlier.

Bob Evans Farms plummeted more than 22% to $46.36 per share after the board of directors of the company abandoned the idea of selling or divesting its sausage and refrigerated-food business. The company also posted earnings that missed the consensus estimates of Wall Street analysts

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