The stock markets in the United Stated declined due to the weak performance of equities in the healthcare and industrial sectors today.

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In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, David Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Global Asset Management said, “It’s been a very mixed quarter as we’ve had a directionless market” and seemed stuck in a bunch of uncertainties. According to him, “Earnings growth forecasts have really been marked down because of the dollar and oil and the market is struggling to reach new highs.”

Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that the S&P 500 is still down 2.2% from its record-level on March 2. It is the worst performers among the indexes in 24 developed countries this year.

The S&P 500 increased more than three times its low level in March 2009 as it benefited from the three rounds of stimulus implemented by the Federal Reserve. The index is trading almost close to its highest valuation in more than five years, according to Bloomberg.

[drizzle]Investors will evaluate economic data this week to find signs as to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen recently stated that she expects that “conditions may warrant an increase in federal funds target sometime this year.” She also indicated a “gradualist approach” in increasing the interest rate.

On Tuesday, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President, Jeffrey Lacker said that the central bank should raise the main interest rate in June amid a stronger labor market, increased consumer spending, and inflation that is almost close to the Fed’s target rate.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,776.12(-1.11%)
  • S&P 500- 2,067.89 (-0.88%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,900.89 (-0.94%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,252.71 (-0.40%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,697.38 (-0.82%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,773.04 (-1.72%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,966.17 (-0.99%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,206.99 (-1.05%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,900.89 (+0.18%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 4,051.20 (-0.90%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Charter Communications climbed more than 5% to $193.11 per share after announcing its agreement to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion.

CBRE Group gained more than 6% to $38.71 per share after disclosing that it will acquire Johnson Controls for $1.48 billion in cash to expand its on-site staffing and management services for commercial buildings.

Sphere 3D declined more than 15% to $3.70 per share today. The stock is the biggest decliner on NASDAQ today. The company reported losses of $5.4 million or $0.20 per share on $9.5 million in net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Sphere 3D is a provider of virtualization and data management solutions.

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