Markets Lower, Closing News 3/22/12

Stocks retreated, finishing off the lows of the day, as growth worries dampened investor enthusiasm and overshadowed better than expected jobs data.  Markets pulled back today following disappointing manufacturing data from Europe and China, undermining confidence in the global economy.


The Labor Department reported applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, adding to signs the jobs market is improving.   Jobless claims decreased by 5K to 348K in the week ended March 17.  It is also a positive sign that companies are becoming more willing to expand workforces, amid evidence sales are improving. 


The Conference Board reported the index of leading indicators rose in February.  The board provided an outlook for the next three to six months, it increased 0.7% after a revised 0.2% gain in January, that was less than initially reported.  A survey of economists by Bloomberg News called for a 0.6% rise.


According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), monthly house prices index were unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis, from December to January. The FHFA also said the previously reported 0.7% increase in December was revised downward to reflect a 0.1% increase.       


Market Indices/Statistics:



  • Dow closed down 78.48 pts/-0.60% to 13,046.14

  • S&P closed down 10.11 pts/-0.72% to 1,392.78

  • Nasdaq closed down 12.00 pts/-0.39% to 3,063.32

  • 8 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

  • 2 of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up

  • Energy and Materials were the worst performing sector

  • The VIX was up 0.62 to 15.73

  • Oil is down $1.76 to $105.53

  • Nat Gas is down $0.085 to $2.368

  • Gold is down $7.80 to $1,642.60

  • Euro vs. Dollar is down $0.002 to $1.3188

  • Dollar vs. Yen is down $0.4535 to $82.9595

Companies in the News:


McDonald's (MCD) announced CEO Jim Skinner will step down at the end of June, ending a seven-year turn at the company. The company's current president and COO, Don Thompson, will succeed Skinner. McDonald’s closed at $95.80, down $0.92.


Reports indicate Citigroup Inc. ( C ) could be interest in selling its remaining 14% stake in a brokerage joint venture to Morgan Stanley (MS) this year.  Citigroup closed at $36.90, down $0.90.  Morgan Stanley closed at $19.59, down $0.47.


Bloomberg reported a unit of AT&T Inc. ( T ) is accused by the DOJ of improperly billing millions of dollars in reimbursements of text-based communications under a federal program for the hearing-impaired.  AT&T closed at $31.71, down $0.13.


Earnings:


FedEx (FDX) reported Q3 adjusted EPS $1.55, vs., Est $1.35 and Q3 revenue $10.56B, vs. Est $10.62B.  The company said it sees strength in Asia-Pacific zone, but weakness in Europe.  FedEx closed at $92.50, down $3.32.


GameStop Corp (GME) reported Q4 adjusted EPS $1.73, vs. Est $1.72 and Q4 revenue $3.58B, vs Est $3.71B. The company recorded asset impairment and restructuring charges of $81.2M during Q4. GameStop closed at $23.16, down $1.51.


ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) reported 3Q earnings of $0.51 per share on $3.4B in revenue, slightly better than analysts had expected. ConAgra closed at $26.21, down $0.15.


Coming Friday:


Economic Reports:   New Home Sales at 10:00 a.m.


 


 


Paras Madho


NYSE Euronext


Market Watch & Corporate Actions


20 Broad Street | New York NY 10005
P:  (212) 656-5404


pmadho@nyx.com


 


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