Market Wrap for Friday, March 15: Dow Snaps Winning Streak; Stocks Record Minor Losses
The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped an impressive 10-day winning streak on Friday as stocks posted small losses.
The euro climbed back above the closely watched $1.30 mark on the day, but risk appetite was tepid throughout the session. Economic reports showed a surprise drop in consumer sentiment in March and rising consumer prices. Although losses were small across the board, all three major averages closed lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 26 points, or 0.18 percent, to 14,513.
The S&P 500 fell a little less than 3 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,561.
The Nasdaq declined around 10 points, or 0.30 percent, to 3,249.
Consumer prices increased in February, largely on a surge in energy costs. The CPI rose 0.7 percent for the month after being flat in January. The consensus expected CPI to increase by 0.5 percent.
Core CPI was up 0.2 percent in February, compared to a gain of 0.3 percent in January. Core CPI excludes volatile food and energy costs. The February figure was in-line with consensus estimates.
Michigan Consumer Sentiment
The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index recorded a surprise decline in March. The index fell from 77.6 in February to 71.8 for March. This compared to consensus estimates which called for the reading to hold steady at 77.6.
Crude oil recorded gains to end the week on Friday. Late in the day, NYMEX crude futures were up 0.49 percent to $93.48. Brent futures were last trading a little less than 1 percent higher to $109.99. Natural gas recorded a better than 1 percent gain on the day and was last trading at $3.86.
At last check, COMEX gold futures were unchanged at $1,590.90. Silver was down around 0.18 percent to $28.76. Copper futures lost 0.54 percent on the session.
Near the close of equity trading on Friday, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) was up around 0.35 percent to $115.62. Yields moved lower on the session.
The 2-Year Note yield lost one basis point to 0.25 percent while the 5-Year saw its yield drop four basis points to 0.83 percent.
The 10-Year Note yield also lost four basis points to 1.99 percent while the 30-Year Bond yield fell two basis points to 3.22 percent.
The U.S. dollar fell on Friday with the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, losing 0.40 percent to $22.41.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last up 0.35 percent to $1.3055. The only other significant mover on the day was the USD/JPY which fell 0.67 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX rose slightly to end the week on Friday but remains near 52-week low levels. The VIX added 1.50 percent to 11.47 on the session.
Volume was lighter than normal to close out the trading week. Around 101 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 131 million.
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (NASDAQ: ULTA) was trading down more than 17 percent near the close after disappointing Q1 guidance.
Shares of small-cap biotech name Progenics Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PGNX) were up better than 28 percent after the company's quarterly earnings results came in better than expected.
CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP) jumped around 7 percent on Friday after the company announced it was combining its pipeline and other assets with OGE Energy and ArcLight Capital Partners.
OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE), a nearly $7 billion Oklahoma City-based company, rose around 10 percent on the news.
DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) had climbed almost 5 percent heading into the close after the company dropped out of the bidding for Vivendi GVT, a Brazilian phone and Internet company.
Stec, Inc. (NASDAQ: STEC) lost more than 8 percent after the company released a disappointing quarterly earnings report.
Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) shed more than 6 percent after a doctors' group questioned the usefulness of its da Vinci robotic surgery device.
VirnetX Holding (AMEX:VHC) fell around 15 percent the day after the company lost a patent case brought against Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO).
Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO) lost 5 percent after its Q4 earnings results and a disappointing Q1 outlook.
Comstock Resources (NYSE: CRK) climbed around 13 percent on Friday after the company announced it has agreed to sell oil and gas properties in Reeves and Gaines counties in West Texas to Rosetta Resources (NASDAQ: ROSE).
Retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) jumped better than 5 percent on the day after its Q4 earnings results.
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