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Stock Market News for April 12, 2016

Benchmarks closed in the red on Monday following losses in healthcare and consumer staples stocks. Concerns over a gloomy first quarter earnings season dragged down investor sentiment. However early rally in oil prices and weaker dollar had a positive impact on key U.S. indexes.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.1% to close at 17,556.41. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to close at 2,041.99. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,833.40, losing 0.4%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 5.9% to settle at 16.26. A total of around 6.5 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 57% stocks that advanced, 39% declined.

Concerns regarding bleak first quarter earnings weighed down investor sentiment. First quarter estimates fell sharply over the last three months and are continuing to come down. Total earnings for the quarter are expected to fall -11.1% on -2.3% lower revenues. Earnings growth is expected to be negative for 11 of the 16 Zacks sectors, including Technology and Finance, the two largest in the index.

A cautious approach from investors led the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) to fall 0.8%, becoming the biggest decliner among the S&P 500 sectors. Key stocks from the sector including Endo International plc (ENDP), Allergan plc (AGN), Celgene Corporation (CELG), Medtronic plc ( MDT) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) decreased 8%, 3.2%, 2.3%, 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively. Dow components Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Merck & Co. Inc. ( MRK) fell 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) declined 1.7%.

Additionally, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) slumped 0.7% and was the second biggest decliner among the S&P 500 sectors. Key consumer staples stocks including Kroger Co. (KR), Procter & Gamble Company ( PG), Altria Group Inc. (MO), Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Coca-Cola Company (KO) and Pepsico, Inc. (PEP) fell 2.2%, 0.6%, 0.8%, 1.7%, 1%, 0.9% and 0.7%, respectively.

However, oil prices rallied yesterday following fall in last week’s rig count and decline in shale oil production. Baker Hughes ( BHI) reported last week that the U.S. oil rig count declined from 362 to 354, posting the third straight weekly decline. Further, on Monday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasted that oil production in seven major shale-drilling regions in the U.S. may decline in May. EIA expects production to decline by 114,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 4.950 million bpd in April to 4.836 million bpd in May.

Also, a weak dollar helped oil and larger commodity prices to rise. The U.S. Dollar Currency Index (DXY) continued to fall for the seventh successive session, declining 0.3% to $85.92. The dollar declined against the yen by 0.1% to 107.975 yen. Further, rising possibility over a production freeze meeting in Doha this Sunday also boosted oil prices. The WTI crude rose 1.6% to $40.36 per barrel, the first time prices rose above the $40 per barrel level since March 22. Brent crude increased 2.1% to $42.83 a barrel.

Moreover among the 12 S&P 500 sectors, three managed to end in the green. The Financial Services Select Sector SPDR (XLFS) gained 0.5%, and was the biggest advancer among the S&P 500 sectors. Dow components JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) rose 0.8% and 1.3%, respectively. Top holdings from the sector such as Morgan Stanley (MS), Bank of America Corporation (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) increased 1.5%, 0.7% and 1.6%, respectively.

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