March 12, 2014
Dow, S&P 500 drop for 4th straight day; Fed a concern
The Dow and the S&P 500 finished lower for the fourth consecutive session today after investors found few reasons to make big moves, with uncertainty remaining over when the Federal Reserve will start to slow its stimulus.
Stocks fell for much of the session, but edged closer to break-even levels in the last hour of trading. Still, the losses were broad, with eight of the 10 S&P 500 sector indexes ending lower for the day on concerns that the market's recent rally to record levels was not justified.
About 60 percent of the shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed lower for the day, while 56 percent of Nasdaq-listed stocks closed down.
Many market participants expect the Fed to announce a cut in its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases in March, but recent economic data increased expectations that the move may come sooner. The Fed has said it would slow its stimulus program when certain economic measures meet its targets, including a decline in the U.S. unemployment rate.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 24.85 points, or 0.16 percent, to end at 15,889.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 2.34 points, or 0.13 percent, to finish at 1,792.81. But the Nasdaq Composite Index inched up just 0.80 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to close at 4,038.00.
European shares also fell, for a third consecutive session, in response to evidence of growing momentum in the US economic recovery that could mean a scaling-back of stimulus by the Federal Reserve.
Standard Chartered was a stand-out faller, dropping 6.5 percent in heavy volume as it warned that profit would probably drop this year after Asian growth slowed over the past five months.
Banks were the worst performing sector as the FTSEurofirst 300 shed 7.26 points, or 0.6 percent to 1,273.59, closing below support around the 1,278 level.Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei average posted its biggest one-day fall in six weeks, a day after hitting a six-year closing high as investors pocketed gains ahead of the U. November jobs report due later this week.