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S&P Hits a Record High, but the Biotech Blues Sets In


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) notched a new all-time high at 1883.97 shortly after the open today, but the bulls quickly gave up the ghost, leading to a finish in the red.

The biotech sector was in prime focus today. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB), which rose 65% in 2013 and as much as 21% in 2014, fell 4.7%. The sell-off was prompted by Congressional criticism of Gilead's (NASDAQ:GILD) pricing practices, which weighed on sentiment across the board.

We also saw weakness in housing, large-cap technology, and social media, while Treasury yields fell, indicating some sense of a flight to safety.

On the plus side, financials outperformed for the second day in a row, and we saw some positive action in emerging markets, notably China. The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:FXI) rose .29% for the day on expectations of more stimulus activity from the People's Bank of China.

Incidentally, Citigroup (NYSE:C) issued a research report this morning showing record outflows in China-focused ETFs and mutual funds, indicating sentiment may have been leaning a bit too negative.

In all, the equity markets look to be working off some froth as the major indices vacillate around record highs, and while the biotech sell-off is troubling to some, there isn't much panic in the air outside of the most speculative sectors.

Software company Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) made the news today, falling 13% after the company announced the surprise termination of CEO Steve Bennett.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) took a 5.1% hit despite delivering solid fiscal third-quarter earnings as investors keyed off the company's disappointing earnings expectations for fiscal 2015.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, shares of both Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) and Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) traded up after their respective reports.

Monday's Financial Outlook

There are no major earnings reports or important US economic data releases scheduled for Monday.

Internationally, we'll see the China HSBC/Markit Flash PMI, and the Germany and Eurozone Purchasing Manager Index numbers.

Traders will also be watching for more general news out of China, particularly related to government stimulus, credit market activity, and/or corporate defaults.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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