The stock markets in the United States declined due to the poor performance of equities in the utilities sector. The Dow Jones & S&P 500 fell 0.58% and 0.61%, respectively today.

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Investors are also evaluating where the market is heading as they wait for Federal Reserve’s move on raising the interest rates.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen Ball & Associated commented, “The market is looking for a new direction, but it hasn’t seen it yet. That is why we’re churning and trading in a pretty narrow range. The Fed looked like it was going to be more aggressive, but now seems to be less so.”

In his prepared remarks for delivery in Sydney on Tuesday, John William, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said a debate regarding tightening policy should happen in the middle of this year.

[drizzle]Yesterday, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President, James Bullard warned that keeping interest rates at zero could cause devastating bubbles. He emphasized that the Fed “should get on with normalization” as soon as possible to prevent more aggressive interest rate hikes later, which could cause significant market volatility.

Economist polled by Bloomberg estimated that the U.S. economy grew 2.2% during the first quarter. The economy is expected to expand 3% in the second quarter.

Today, data showed that the cost of living in the United States excluding food and fuel increased more than expected last month. The Department of Labor reported that the consumer-price index rose 0.2%.

The Department of Commerce reported that sales of new home in the United States unexpectedly increase in February. The new home sales climbed 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units. The surprise increase shows an improvement in the housing market.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,011.14 (-0.58%)
  • S&P 500- 2,091.50 (-0.61%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,430.73 (-0.32%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,263.47 (0.10%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,731.35 (+0.87%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 7,019.68 (-0.26%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 12,005.69 (+0.92%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,713.45 (-0.21%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,399.60 (-0.39%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,973.05 (+0.02%)

Stocks in Focus

The shares of Google climbed more than 2% after the search engine giant announced the appointment of Ruth Porat to serve as its new CFO. Porat serves as CFO at Morgan Stanley. She will replace Google’s retiring CFO Patrick Pichette on May.

Google’s Class A shares closed $577.54 per share while its Class C shares close $570.19 per share today.

Twitter gained more than 6% to %51.47 per share. The popular microblogging company started testing its AutoPlay video ads to improve its engagement metric.

The stock price of Whiting Petroleum plummeted more than 20% to $30.39 per share. The company decided to sell 35 million shares of its common stock for $30 each to raise approximately $1 billion. The company also issued $2 billion worth of convertible notes.

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