The stock markets in the United States declined today after recording a significant rally yesterday with the NASDAQ reaching a record level. Investors are monitoring the developments in the debt negotiations in Greece amid the quarterly expirations of options.

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Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, told CNBC that today’s market decline was caused by “binary effects of options expiration and concern over Greece.”

CNBC noted that the market was marked by quadruple witching as volatility increased in the last hour of trade due to the expiration of options and future contracts.

The finance ministers in the European region called for an emergency summit on Monday to discuss measures to prevent Greece. Greece and its international creditors failed to make any progress on the case-for-reforms agreement during their negotiations in Luxembourg on Thursday.

[drizzle]Jeroen Dijsselbloen, chairman of the Eurogroup, said, “Regrettably … too little progress has been made. No agreement is in sight.” He added that the finance ministers sent a strong message that it was up to Greece to submit new proposals.

Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott commented, “Short of any resolution to the Greece situation—which I don’t think is going to happen—we’ll kind of waffle here.”

On the other hand, David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds that market will be impacted by several issues between now and then including the Greece debt negotiations, and the Supreme Court decision on affordable care.

“I don’t think we can say anything about small movements. I think markets are still dominated by uncertainty (about the Fed and Greece),” said Kelly.

Meanwhile, John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Franciso indicated the possibility of an interest rate hike this year. According to him, the central bank would probably raise interest rates twice this year if economic data meets expectations.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,014.28 (-0.56%)
  • S&P 500- 2,109.76 (-0.54%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,117.00 (-0.31%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,284.66 (-0.00%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,455.80 (+0.16%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,710.45 (+0.04%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,040.10 (-0.54%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 20,174.24 (+0.92%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 26,760.53 (+0.25%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 4,637.05 (-5.95%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of ConAgra Foods increased almost 11% to $43.37 per share. Jana Partners disclosed a 7.2% stake in the company. The activist hedge indicated its intention to nominate directors to the company’s Board.

The shares of AirMedia Group surged more than 42% to $5.02 per share. The company is the biggest gainer among the companies listed on NASDAQ today. AirMedia Chairman and CEO Herman Man Guo offered to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of the company for $6.00 per ADS in a going-private transaction.

Macerich declined more than 6% to $76.99 per share amid reports that a block of 5.7 million shares of the company were sold at a modest discount. The block represents approximately 3.6% of the outstanding shares of the company.

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