MARKETS SNAPSHOT FOR 19/04/12
Friday, 20 April 2012 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: -68.65 Level: 12964.1 NASDAQ PointChange: -23.89 Level: 3007.56 NQ100 PercentChange: -1.1 R2K PercentChange: -0.6 SP400 PercentChange: -0.4 SP500 PointChange: -8.22 Level: 1376.92 NASDAQ-Adv:927 Dec: 1548 NYSE-Adv:1228 Dec: 1762
[BRIEFING.COM] A general lack of leadership left stocks to slide into negative territory for the second straight session, but a late bounce helped the major averages trim their losses.
Stocks struggled to establish a clear direction in morning trade. An absence of leadership left the major averages to roll into the red to trade with losses of about 1%. A rebound began to take shape in the final hour, when the S&P 500 found support at the 1370 line, which marks the weekly closing low that was set on Monday. Although stocks settled comfortably above session lows, broad losses were still booked.
Tech stocks were hit the hardest today. The sector suffered a 1.3% loss. Qualcomm (QCOM 62.56, -4.42) was one of its poorest performers as market participants responded in a decidedly negative manner to the firm's underwhelming forecast, which overshadowed an upside earnings surprise for the latest quarter.
Ostensibly lackluster earnings results from both Morgan Stanley (MS 18.07, +0.41) and Bank of America (BAC 8.77, -0.15) were initially forgiven, enabling their shares to gap higher at the open, but support for the pair waned. Fellow financial outfit American Express (AXP 57.57, -0.47) was even backed down despite a better-than-expected quarterly report, but Travelers (TRV 61.70, +2.23) was able to score a strong gain on the heels of its latest numbers. Financials closed with a collective loss of 0.5%, which is less than half of the loss that the sector had wrestled with at its session low.
Stronger-than-expected quarterly results from Verizon (VZ 38.15, +0.49) helped the integrated Telecom play prop up the rest of Telecom. That helped the sector score a 0.2% gain, although it had been up more sharply at midday.
Health Care stocks also scored a 0.2% gain. Human Genome Sciences (HGSI 14.17, +7.00) nearly doubled its share price and brought attention to biopharmaceutical plays after the company announced it rejected an unsolicited bid from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK 46.69, +0.32) for $13.00 per share in order to explore alternatives.
Online retailer eBay (EBAY 40.62, +4.75) garnered strong buying interest on the back of its quarterly report. The stock surged to a multi-year high as a result. Still, the Consumer Discretionary sector suffered a 0.9% loss today. It was the only major sector to book a gain in the prior session.
The dollar was flat at day's end, but that was only after it surrendered an early gain that came in response to a retreat by the euro. The euro's downturn came after it had violated a key technical support line following news of satisfactory demand at a debt auction held by both Spain and France, tacitly pointing to underlying concerns about fiscal and financial conditions in the eurozone core and periphery.
Data today didn't do anything to bolster confidence in stocks. The latest initial jobless claims tally totaled 386,000, which is little changed from the prior week, but greater than the 375,000 claims that had been generally expected.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Fed Survey for to 8.5 in April from 12.5 in the prior month. Economists polled by Briefing.com had expected, on average, a more modest decline to 10.3.
Existing home sales also proved disappointing. The pace of sales eased down to an annualized rate of 4.48 million units in March from a pace of 4.60 million units in the prior month. An annualized clip closer to 4.62 million units had been broadly anticipated.
Leading Indicators for March were somewhat of a bright spot, but not terribly so. They increased by 0.3%, which isn't much better than the 0.2% increase that had been generally forecasted.
Advancing Sectors: Health Care +0.2%, Telecom +0.2%
Declining Sectors: Utilities -0.3%, Energy -0.3%, Consumer Staples -0.3%, Materials -0.3%, Financials -0.5%, Consumer Discretionary -0.9%, Industrials -1.0%, Tech -1.0%