All market sectors,with the exception of utilities, were in negative territory, and once again, high-beta momentum stocks took some big punches.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) fell 2.9% to $215, putting it down 5.1% for the year. IBB had been up as much as 21.3% year-to-date in late February.
Social media stocks like Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Yelp (NYSE:YELP) were also hit hard, as were other high-profile momentum names like FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
First-quarter earnings season for the big banks officially kicked off with JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) this morning.
JPMorgan missed on both the top and bottom lines due to weakness in its mortgage lending and fixed income trading units. Shares fell 3.7% on the day to $55.30.
Wells Fargo had a slight miss on revenues but beat consensus earnings expectations, and the stock was up 0.8% to $48.08.
Automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) took a 4.1% hit today as investors remained concerned about recent product recalls related to faulty ignition switches. Five US senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Justice Department block attempts by GM to avoid liability. The senators also recommended that GM create a fund to compensate accident victims.
Biotech giant Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) spiked 5.3% in early trading on a Reuters report indicating that Texas is reconsidering a proposal to impose limits on Gilead's Sovaldi hepatitis C drug. However, in keeping with the broader market sell-off, it gave back most of its gains to finish at $66.03, up just 0.8%.
In economics news, the final PPI reading for March was 1.4%, above consensus of 1.1%, and above the prior figure of 0.9%.
And the preliminary April University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey came in at 82.6, beating Wall Street's 81.0 consensus forecast.
Monday's Financial Outlook
We'll kick off Monday with the March Retail Sales numbers at 8:30 a.m., which will be followed by February's Business Inventories report.
Earnings season will continue heating up on Monday, with reports from Citigroup (NYSE:C), M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB), and JB Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ:JBHT).
As it stands now, earnings expectations seem fairly low. FactSet Research Systems (NYSE:FDS) said on Friday that analysts were forecasting an earnings decline of 1.6% for Q1, which is a significant reduction from the 4.3% growth expected as of the end of 2013.
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