It was another down day for stocks.First the scoreboard:
Dow: 13,880, -46.9 pts, -0.3 per cent
S&P 500: 1,502, -9.5 pts, -0.6 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,131. -32.9 pts, -1.0 per cent
And now the top stories:
- Today’s sell-off really started across the pond. Earlier, Europe posted its latest PMI numbers and they were uglier than expected. France’s economy appears to be crumbling as its PMI number sank to a 47-month low.
- The U.S. economic data dump wasn’t very encouraging either. Initial jobless claims jumped to 362k from last week’s 341k level. This was much higher than the 362k economists were looking for.
- U.S. PMI slipped to 55.2, which was below the 55.5 level economists were looking for. Nevertheless, it is well above 50, which is the breakeven level indicating growth.
- The Philly Fed manufacturing index, one of the most closely watched regional indicators, unexpectedly plunged to -12.5 from last month’s reading of -5.8. Economists were expecting the metric to rise to +1.
- Q4 earnings season, for the most part, has been over for a while. But Wal-Mart had its earnings announcement this morning. Q4 earnings came in at $1.67 per share, which was higher than the $1.57 per share analysts were looking for. Revenue was a bit light. However, everyone wanted to hear what the company had to say about Q1. In case you forgot, Wal-Mart emails leaked last week, and one exec was caught saying that February sales were looking like a “total disaster.” It turns out much of this was due to tax refunds that were delayed because of legal changes related to the fiscal cliff. The good news is that the impact of the recent payroll tax hike has too damaging.
- Don’t Miss: The 50 Stocks Hedge Fund Managers Love Most >
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