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Stock Market News for April 06, 2016

Benchmarks closed in the red on Tuesday for the second straight session following concerns over weak global economic growth. Dismal European and Japanese economic data affected the U.S. markets negatively. Also, weak first quarter earnings guidance dragged key indexes downward. While the Dow fell three-digit points for the first time since March 8 and registered biggest one-day decline since Feb 23. However, oil prices rally and better-than-expected U.S. service data had a positive impact on benchmarks.

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 0.8%, or 133.68 points, to close at 17,603.32. The S&P 500 fell 1% to close at 2,045.17. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,843.93, also losing 1%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 9.2% to settle at 15.42, hitting its highest level since Feb 8. A total of around 7.2 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, marginally lower than the last 20-session average of 7.3 billion shares. Decliners outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 67% stocks that declined, 29% advanced.

All the key indexes declined yesterday following declines in overseas markets. Both the European and Japanese stocks indexes fell following weaker-than-expected economic data. According to Markit, Europe’s final composite March PMI for output came in at 53.1, lower than flash estimate of 53.7, whereas PMI for services of 53.1, less than flash estimate of 54. Moreover, Nikkei Japan Services PMI declined from 51.2 in February to 50 in March.

Disappointing output and services data had a negative impact on key indexes in both Europe and Japan. Germany’s DAX slumped 2.6%, its biggest loss since Feb 24, while the Stoxx Europe 600 declined 1.9% to its lowest settlement since Feb 25. Also, the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index fell 3.4% and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average declined 2.4%.

Additionally, lackluster earnings outlook for the first quarter dampened investor sentiment. Total first quarter earnings for the S&P 500 index are expected to be down 10.3% from the same period last year on 2% lower revenues.

The weak global market performance had a negative impact on the U.S. markets. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) lost 1.9% and was the biggest loser among the S&P 500 sectors. Key utilities stocks including NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE), Duke Energy Corporation (DUK), Southern Company (SO), Dominion Resources, Inc. (D), Exelon Corporation (EXC) and PG&E Corporation (PCG), decreased 2%, 1.5%, 1.7%, 2.1%, 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively.

Further, concerns over lower interest rates dragged financial stocks down globally. The Financial Services Select Sector SPDR (XLFS) declined 1.5% and was second biggest loser among the S&P 500 sectors. Top holdings from the sector such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ( BRK.B), Bank of America Corporation (BAC), Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C) and Chubb Limited (CB) decreased, 1.4%, 2.4%, 2%, 1.3% and 2.2%, respectively. Dow components JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) fell 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively.

Separately, oil prices advanced yesterday following increasing hopes over a possible production freeze in the Doha meeting. Oil prices rebounded after Kuwaiti governor for the OPEC, Nawal Al-Fuzaia, said that "there are positive indications an agreement will be reached” on production freeze in the meeting on April 17 in Doha. Both the WTI crude and Brent crude increased by 0.5% to $35.89 per barrel and $37.87 a barrel, respectively. However, concerns over oversupply and Iran’s indication to continue to increase crude production curbed some of the gains in oil prices.

In economic news, the Institute for Supply Management reported that ISM Services Index increased from 53.4% in February to 54.5% in March, witnessing its highest level in last three months. Additionally, the reading was in line with the consensus estimate. Also, the Markit services PMI rose from February’s reading of 49.7% to 51.3% in March.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that trade deficit increased in February to $47.1 billion from $45.9 billion in February, more than the consensus estimate of a decrease to $46.1 billion. Moreover, it was the highest trade deficit since last August.

In corporate news, shares of Allergan plc (AGN) fell 14.8%, after the announcement of new steps by the U.S. Treasury Department to control tax “inversion” deals. Following U.S. Treasury Department’s new rules, Pfizer Inc. ( PFE) cancelled its $160 billion takeover deal of Allergan. Shares of Pfizer increased 2.1%, becoming the biggest advancer among the Dow companies.

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