Stocks Pause Ahead of Big NFP Day
Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.
We saw very bearish action in high-beta stocks, with weakness in key leadership sectors like biotech, and by day's end, the S&P was down 0.1%.
Biotech, which is largely viewed as a key indicator of investors' willingness to embrace risk, sell 2.7%, as measured by the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI). With this decline, the group is now down 14.5% from the February 25 high.
Small caps also took it on the chin, with the Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) trading down 1.0%, and there was a nasty pullback in emerging markets. The stock markets of countries like Russia, Brazil, and China have been very hot as of late despite mixed global economic data trends, but all three sold off today.
Nonetheless, the action wasn't all bad. US housing and financial stocks did slightly better than the major averages, and energy stocks finished nicely in the green as crude oil crossed the $100 mark.
On the economics front, as expected, the European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.25%. However, ECB President Mario Draghi emphasized that the Bank will maintain an accommodative monetary policy to battle the prospect of inflation.
Here in the US, the ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.1, which was slightly below the consensus reading of 53.5. obless claims were also a modest disappointment at 326,000, which was above expectations of 319,000.
US markets still feel like they're working off some excess following 2013's 30% pop, though that hasn't yet translated to the major averages as the selling is happening in riskier stocks. One good illustration of the action is the big move up in utility stocks.
That group is up 8.6% year-to-date, and has continued going higher just as the aforementioned biotech and social media names have cratered. We've also seen nice, slow and steady upward moves in Big Pharma names like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Merck (NYSE:MRK).
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
All eyes are on tomorrow's March nonfarm payrolls report.
Current expectations call for a headline number of 200,000 with an unemployment rate of 6.6%.
Investors are looking for a rebound following the extended spell of bad weather that contributed to three straight weak reports. And given that the S&P is sitting near an all-time high, it's fair to say expectations are a bit elevated.
Follow the markets all day every day with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter. Over 30 professional traders share their ideas in real-time. Learn more.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter