On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks ended the day broadly lower, giving up earlier gains following the Federal Reserve's move to raise the benchmark interest rate. Following two down days for Facebook (FB), the stock rose marginally as investors awaited an update from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. U.S. stocks closed higher on Tuesday, rebounding from Monday's losses as energy stocks saw gains due to an increase in oil prices, though technology stocks remained lower following Monday's selloff. ECONOMIC EVENTS: The U.S. current-account deficit, a measure of the nation's debt to other countries, widened 2.6% in Q4. Existing-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.54M in February, the National Association of Realtors said. They were 1.1% higher than in February of 2017, and the rate was higher than 2017's full year total of 5.51M. In Fed news, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75% from 1.50% and maintained its expecation for the median funds rate of 2.1% at the end of 2018. The Fed added in its statement that economic activity has been rising at a "moderate rate" and that its economic outlook has strengthened in recent months. COMPANY NEWS: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the public about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying that he is responsible for what happens on Facebook and that the company as "made mistakes." Zuckerberg said that the company will investigate all apps that had access to "large amounts of information" before it changed its platform to reduce data access in 2014, and will conduct a full audit of any app with "suspicious activity"... The European Commission proposed rules to makes companies with significant digital revenues in Europe, like Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook and Amazon (AMZN), pay a 3% tax on their turnover on various online services in the EU, Reuters reported... Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) executive Jimmy Iovine will transition into a consulting role in August and step back from daily involvement in the company's streaming music business, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with his plans... In addition, shares of MuleSoft (MULE) rose 5.3% after it agreed to be acquired by Salesforce (CRM) for $6.5B. Salesforce shares were 2.7% lower after the news. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Prothena (PRTA), which rose 14.4% after it announced a global collabortaion with Celgene (CELG) to develop new therapies for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. Also higher was QEP Resources (QEP), which gained 8.2% after Johnson Rice initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating. Among the notable losers was General Mills (GIS), which slipped 8.8% after reporting quarterly results. Also lower was Southwest Airlines (LUV), which fell 4.8% after it recast certain 2016 and 2017 financial information and updated its RASM and CASM guidance for the first quarter. INDEXES: The Dow fell 44.96, or 0.18%, to 24,682.31, the Nasdaq lost 19.02, or 0.26%, to 7,345.29, and the S&P 500 declined 5.01, or 0.18%, to 2,711.93.