December 11, 2017
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wall Street ends down in choppy session, but off lows

US stocks fell for a fourth straight session today but indexes ended well off session lows with support from economic data and earnings, including Accenture's.

Semiconductor stocks were again under pressure, this time after SanDisk cut its revenue outlook. Its shares tumbled 18.4 percent to $66.20 and an index of chipmaker shares fell 1.4 percent. The index fell as much as 3.5 percent earlier.

The S&P 500 is still less than 3 percent below its record high hit three weeks ago. The index rallied last week as concern ebbed about an overheating dollar.

Consulting company Accenture's quarterly net revenue rose 5 percent, helped by growth in its outsourcing business as North American companies look to cut costs. Its shares rose 6.8 percent to $94.17.

Red Hat rallied 10.1 percent to $75.36 after it forecast a profit for the first quarter that matched analysts' estimates despite warning about a strong dollar hurting its revenue.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40.31 points, or 0.23 percent, to 17,678.23, the S&P 500 lost 4.9 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,056.15 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.16 points, or 0.27 percent, to 4,863.36.

Energy stocks on the S&P 500 ended down 0.2 percent despite a rally in crude prices following Saudi Arabia's air strikes in Yemen.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week while activity in the services sector hit a six-month high in March, underscoring the economy's solid fundamentals despite a recent softening in growth.

European stocks fell, extending the previous session's retreat, hurt by worries over valuation levels in growth sectors such as technology following strong gains this year.

Euro zone equity indexes managed to trim heavy losses in late trade, however, as the euro currency reversed gains and slipped again.

Shares in Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, STMicroelectronics, ARM, and ASML lost 1.9 percent to 4.9 percent.

European tech firms, seen as benefitting significantly from the drop in the euro over the past year, had surged 42 percent since mid-October, outpacing the overall market and sending the sector to valuation ratios well above long-term averages.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.8 percent lower at 1,574.26 points. After losing more than 2 percent during the session, Germany's DAX ended 0.2 percent lower, while France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent.

European shares have strongly rallied in the past six months as investors bet a sharp drop in the euro currency would boost the region's economy and lift corporate results.

The euro reached 1.1051 on Thursday, pulling further away from a 12-year trough of $1.0457 hit last week, before losing steam in the afternoon.

The currency is still down about 20 percent over the past year, which is set to give euro zone companies a major lift as roughly 50 percent of euro zone earnings come from outside the region.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average dropped today as investors sold semi-conductor and other hi-tech shares after their US peers were sold off sharply following soft US economic data.

News that Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries had launched military operations in Yemen to beat back Shi'ite militia forces also dampened the mood, although it benefited oil shares as oil prices rose.

The Nikkei fell 1.4 percent to 19,471.12, its biggest fall in 10 weeks, slipping from a 15-year high of 19.778.60 touched on Monday.

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