Stocks End Lower Amid Portugal Downgrade, Spike in Treasury Yields

by: Midnight Trader

4:17 PM, Mar 24, 2010 --

  • NYSE down 70.66 (1%) to 7,408.20.
  • DJIA down 52.7 (0.5%) to 10,836.
  • S&P 500 down 6.5 (0.6%) to 1,168.
  • Nasdaq down 16.5 (0.7%) to 2,399.


Hang Seng up 0.10%

Nikkei up 0.38%

FTSE up 0.08%


(+) ADBE Q1 beat, in line to higher guidance for Q2.

(+) MF continues gain after announcing Jon Corzine to become CEO, Chairman.

(+) AEZS swings to profit on improving revenue.

(+) LEN beats with Q1 results.

(+) EGHT wins patent.

(+) HNZ upgraded to Neutral.

(+) COP announces buyback.

(+) NVAX reports positive data from first stage of vaccine study.

(+) ARNA starts Narcolepsy and Cataplexy trial.

(+) S jumps on Android report.

(+) BA gets upgrade.


(-) ORRF prices shares.

(-) GIS beats with Q3 results, raises FY EPS view though in range that straddles Street.

(-) JBL stock continuing late evening decline seen depsite earnings beat; guidance does straddle Street view.

(-) DELL guides for China sales.

(-) BOCH selling shares.

(-) GENZ says FDA to take enforcement action on Allston plant.

(-) PARD stops Picoplatin development program.


Stocks drifted in a relatively narrow downside range throughout Wednesday's session. A credit downgrade for Portugal sapped some of the bullishness saturating markets over the past several sessions. Stocks briefly extended losses after poor demand greeted the Treasury's auction of 5-year notes and sent the benchmark 10-year yield up by the most since July.

European finances are back in the spotlight and contributing to global stock weakness. Fitch downgraded the rating of Portugal to AA- from AA and kept the country's outlook on negative.

Separately, Greece has indicated it will turn to the International Monetary Fund for support in the absence of a euro-zone aid package.

Domestically, February durable goods orders rose 0.5%, lower than the 0.7% gain that economists had expected.

New home sales unexpectedly fell 2.2% to a 308,000 unit annual rate from 315,000 units in January and were below expectations for sales to edge up to a 320,000 unit annual pace.

Crude oil closed lower Wednesday on a stronger dollar and a U.S. government report showing a gain in crude-oil inventories. Oil for May delivery, the most active contract, lost $1.30, or 1.6%, to end at $80.61 a barrel in the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Portugal's rating was lowered by one notch to AA-minus as diplomats said euro zone countries have not yet agreed on a safety net for heavily indebted Greece.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) is a gainer, helping to curb broader market losses, after an analyst upgrade.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is the Dow's top percentage gainer, rising over 2%, after it said it plans to offer about $3 billion in loan forgiveness to about 45,000 troubled homeowners in an effort to prevent foreclosures when home values drop sharply below the amount owed, Reuters reported.

Builder Lennar (NYSE:LEN), though, was higher. The company reports Q1 revenue of $574.4 mln, down 3%. Loss for the quarter was $0.04 per share, vs. a year ago loss of $0.98 per share. The Street view was $568.2 mln in revenue and a loss of $0.30 per share.

In other company news, Jabil (NYSE:JBL) fell. The company beat with its Q2 results released in the extended-hours period but set guidance in a range that straddled the Street view.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) was up on reports that the company announced last night with HTC Corp. a summer availability for the 3G/4G Android handset.

MF Global (MF) rallied on news ex-New Jersey governor Jon Corzine will be the company's new CEO. Corzine also was the former head of Goldman Sachs.

Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) gained after the company beat Q1 expectations and set its Q2 guidance in line to higher than Street estimates.