4:04 PM, May 15, 2009 --
- DJIA down 62.68 (0.7%) to 8,268.64
- S&P 500 down 10.20 (1.1%) to 882.87
- Nasdaq down 9.0 (0.5%) to 1,680.14
- Nikkei +1.9%
- Hang Seng +1.5%
- FTSE -0.3%
(-) GM closing 1,100 dealerships
(-) AIG IDR downgraded by Fitch
(-) OSIP issues update on OSI-906.
(-) FIG pricing shares.
(-) ANF swings to loss.
(-) ITW backs wide Q2 EPS guidance range.
(+) ZLC Upgraded to 'Buy' at BofA
(+) AA Rated 'Buy' at Goldman Sachs
(+) YGE in supplier pact with AES Solar.
(+) EXEL reports positive brain cancer treatment study.
(+) FUQI tops earnings expectations.
The major U.S. averages closed the regular session in the red, ending the day near their lows as traders found little inspiration in a raft of government data that continued to suggest the economy may have finally bottomed. Consumer sentiment spiked to an eight-month high, consumer prices were as-expected flat in April, and New York-based manufacturing data contracted less than expected. Traders are now looking further out, looking for signs of actual growth that could spur the next leg up in the markets. While some are keen on forecasting potential improvement in the second-half of 2009, other market-watchers are pinning their hopes on a first-half 2010 recovery.
With an eye toward next week, earnings season continues, but the number of companies reporting is thinning out. Among the top names due with quarterly numbers are: Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), ADI (NASDAQ:ADI), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Saks (NYSE:SKS), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), BJ's Wholesale (NYSE:BJ), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP), Synospys (NASDAQ:SNPS), Target (NYSE:TGT), Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK), Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD), GameStop (NYSE:GME), LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) and Tech Data (NASDAQ:TECD).
On the economic front, housing starts and building permits will be issued on Tuesday. Crude inventories are due out on Wednesday, and initial claims, leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed are set to be disclosed on Thursday.
In today's market, General Motors (NYSE:GM) declined after it said it will close about 1,100 underperforming and very small sales volume U.S. dealers as it moves to reduce its dealer network from 5,969 stores today to approximately 3,600 by the end of 2010.
Crude dropped about 2.5% to near $56 per barrel, continuing a slide since touching a recent high of $60.
Insurers were a strong force in today's pre-market, posting healthy gains after the federal government offered life insurers up to $22 billion of taxpayer money. AllState (NYSE:ALL), Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG), Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE:AMP), Lincoln National Corp. (NYSE:LNC), Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) and Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE:PRU) are the six insurers the Treasury has given preliminary approval to receive funds. While most of these issues saw gains early in the day they gave up the bulk of those advances and the majority of the stocks closed lower.
Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) provided some support to the retail space as the luxury department-store chain was up after it reported first-quarter profit excluding some items of 31 cents a share, beating analyst estimates. The company also boosted its full- year forecast.
Tech issues were a rare bright spot in today's trade, edging modestly higher on the back of strength in Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). The search giant saw a decent bounce after it was highlighted by Jim Cramer on his Mad Money CNBC show.