Stocks slide, losing yesterday's gains and turning negative for the week, amid slowdown fears
The S&P 500 ended the week lower compared to last Friday's close. The Federal Reserve decided to keep rates unchanged on Wednesday, surprising no one, but it did surprise with its projections, which point to a view that it will make no rate hikes at all this year. The immediate reaction on Wednesday afternoon was muted, but then the market took off on Thursday, only to see all of those gains, and more, given back on Friday as investors also weighed the Fed's lowered economic projections and new data from home and abroad that point to an economic slowdown, particularly in Europe.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's flash manufacturing PMI for March fell 0.5 ticks to 52.5 for its lowest print since June 2017 and Markit's flash services PMI fell 1.2 points to 54.8. Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January, with sales up 0.5%. Existing home sales rose 11.8% to a 5.51M rate in February, which was much stronger than expected.
In Fed news, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that economist Stephen Moore will be nominated to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Meanwhile, Trump also tweeted that he had ordered the withdrawal of additional sanctions on North Korea just one day after the U.S. Treasury said it would add them.
In Europe, flash manufacturing PMIs disappointed as well. The overall Eurozone manufacturing PMI came in at 47.6 versus an expected reading of 49.5, Germany's manufacturing PMI came in at 44.7 versus the consensus 48 and France's manufacturing PMI came in at 49.8 versus the 51.4 reading that was forecast.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Nike (NKE) fell 6.7% the athletic apparel and footwear maker reported weaker than expected sales in North America during its fiscal third quarter and provided a lower than expected outlook.
Shares of Boeing (BA) slipped 2.8% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Garuda Indonesia is looking to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 MAX jets. Garuda is the first airline to publicly confirm plans to cancel a 737 MAX order following two crashes involving the jet in the last six months, the Journal's report noted.
General Motors (GM), which has recently be a target for negative tweets from President Donald Trump, confirmed that it is investing $300M in its Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant to produce a new Chevrolet electric vehicle to be designed and engineered off an advanced version of the current Bolt EV architecture.
Nokia (NOK), which yesterday reported an internal investigation into compliance at Alcatel Lucent, clarified on that disclosure today, stating that the specified investigation is "not expected to have a material impact." Nokia added: "We have seen no evidence that would suggest that criminal penalties would apply in this case, and we believe it is highly likely that any penalties that might apply would be limited and immaterial."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Papa John's (PZZA), which rose 6.2% after it announced that former NBA player and restaurateur Shaquille O'Neal will be joining the company's board of directors. Also higher was Hibbett Sports (HIBB), which gained 20.3% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Penn Virginia (PVAC), which slid 5.1% after it mutually agreed to terminate its merger agreement with Denbury Resources (DNR). Denbury shares declined 2.6% after the news. Also lower was Zuora (ZUO), which fell over 14% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 460.19, or 1.77%, to 25,502.32, the Nasdaq lost 196.29, or 2.5%, to 7,642.67, and the S&P 500 declined 54.16, or 1.9%, to 2,800.72.
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