S&P 500 Has Worst Single-Day Decline Since February

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The S&P 500 declined by 1.05% and the Dow was off by 0.76% today. The S&P had its worst single-day decline since February 25th. All the major sectors of the average were lower with technology, industrials, utilities, and health care the better performers and energy, consumer, and financials lagging.

Health care stocks were again led by HMO’s as there was further buying in response to the CMS Medicare Advantage rates. Utilities were lower but ahead of the tape as money flowed toward the more conservative areas of the market.

Treasuries moved higher as the equity side of the market traded lower. The Fed purchased $3.7 billion worth of 7-year and 10-year notes.

Commodities were mostly lower with precious metals, copper, crude, and natural gas trading lower. Gold was off by 1.15%.

ADP employment indicated that private payrolls increased by 158,000 in March, below the consensus estimate of 200,000. The headline for ISM manufacturing came in at 54.4 versus an estimate of 55.5.

The financial index sold of sharply closing down by 1.75%. The bank index is 5% off its recent high after a huge run higher.

Industrials finished lower but ahead of the tape. Industrial bellwether Caterpillar was downgraded by Goldman Sachs. Weakening iron ore prices led Goldman to reduce earnings estimates.

Energy was lower by 1.5% with crude off by 3.0% and natural lower by 1.5%. Refiners were again sold off, but closed well above the lows of the day on fears of increased costs due to EPA regulatory changes.

The consumer sector sold off but several retailers and restaurant stocks traded higher on the down day. Joseph A. Banks, Abercrombie and Fitch, Panera Bread, and Brinker Inc. all traded higher.

Source: PFS Group

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