Stocks fell in morning trading as a trio of technology giants were being weighed down by reports of greater scrutiny from regulators. Adding to the tech weakness to kick of June trading were underwhelming manufacturing readings from both home and abroad, keeping alive the concerns that the expanding trade fight being waged by the U.S. is slowing global growth.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's manufacturing PMI for May came in at 50.5, just below the consensus of 50.6. The ISM manufacturing index for May came in at 52.1, versus expectations for a reading of 53.0. Construction spending was flat in April, versus the consensus call for an increase of 0.4% for the month.
In China, the Caixin manufacturing PMI was 50.2, flat compared to April and a bit better than the consensus at 50.
In Europe, the final Eurozone manufacturing PMI for May was in-line with the flash reading at 47.7.
TOP NEWS: Class A shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) are sliding following media reports saying that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to open an investigation into Google's compliance with antitrust laws. Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN) could also face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between U.S. regulators that puts it under closer watch by the Federal Trade Commission, The Washington Post reported. The move is the result of the FTC and the Department of Justice quietly divvying up competition oversight of Alphabet's Google and Amazon, sources told Tony Romm of the Post. Meanwhile, Bloomberg said that Facebook (FB) is facing a competition probe from the FTC. The three tech giants all slumped amid the regulations worries, with Class A shares of Alphabet down 7%, Amazon shares are down 5% and Facebook is down 8% near noon.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday in a statement Boeing (BA) has informed the agency that certain 737 NG and 737 MAX leading edge slat tracks may have been improperly manufactured and may not meet all applicable regulatory requirements for strength and durability. Following the FAA announcement, Boeing shares have slipped 1.5%.
In M&A news, Infineon Technologies (IFNNY) announced an agreement to acquire and Cypress Semiconductor (CY) for $23.85 per share in cash, corresponding to an enterprise value of EUR9B.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Spirit MTA REIT (SMTA), which rose 18.5% after it agreed to be acquired by Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) for $2.4B. Hospitality Properties shares were 5% lower after the news. Also higher was El Paso Electric (EE), which gained 14% after it agreed to be acquired by the Infrastructure Investments Fund for $68.25 per share.
Among the notable losers was TrueCar (TRUE), which fell 15% after announcing the retirement of president and CEO Chip Perry. Also lower was Centene (CNC), which declined 11% after Humana (HUM) confirmed that it will not propose a merger with Centene. Humana shares were 1% higher after the news.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was down 59.49, or 0.24%, to 24,755.55, the Nasdaq was down 105.30, or 1.41%, to 7,347.85, and the S&P 500 was down 12.90, or 0.47%, to 2,739.16.