The U.S. stock market fell for the second day on Thursday after a report on Wednesday showed that the U.S. economy contracted in the fourth-quarter. Investors are primarily focused on quarterly earnings reports from corporations, but a series of mixed economic reports are also commanding attention.
In other news, the Justice Department sued to block the proposed acquisition of Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona beer, by Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD). A number of stocks were active in the wake of the antitrust suit.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost around 46 points, or 0.33 percent, to close at 13,865.
The S&P 500 fell a little less than 4 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 1,498.
The Nasdaq Composite was essentially flat on the day at 3,142.
Among the economic data that was on the slate for Thursday was initial and continuing claims for the week ending January 26. Initial claims increased to 368,000 versus 330,000 for the week ending January 19. This was above consensus estimates of 345,000.
Continuing claims increased from an upwardly revised 3.175 million in the week ending January 12 to 3.198 million for the week ending January 19. This was slightly below consensus estimates predicting an increase to 3.200 million.
Personal Income and Spending
Personal income rose in in December, adding 2.6 percent after rising 1 percent in November. This was well ahead of consensus estimates calling for an increase of 0.7 percent.
Personal spending rose, but came in below consensus. Personal spending was up 0.2 percent for December after increasing 0.4 percent in November. This compared to estimates calling for a 0.3 percent increase.
Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area was up sharply to 55.6 in January versus an upwardly revised 50.0 in December. The reading was the strongest since April 2012 and easily beat consensus estimates of 50.5.
Crude oil was mixed on Thursday. NYMEX crude contracts, the U.S. benchmark, fell 0.48 percent to $97.47. Brent futures were last trading up around 0.61 percent to $115.60 as the WTI/Brent spread tightened. Natural gas was trading around the flat-line at $3.34 at last check.
COMEX gold futures were trading down more than 1 percent late in the day to $1,663. Silver contracts had lost more than 2.30 percent to $31.43.
In the agricultural complex, corn was close to unchanged while CBOT wheat fell around 1 percent. Most of the grains and soft commodities traded in a 1 percent range around the unchanged line on Thursday.
Late in the equity trading session, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was up around 0.50 percent to $117.33. The rise in bond prices drove yields lower.
Yields were lower by one basis point in the 2-Year, 10-Year and 30-Year Bond on the day. The 5-Year Note yield was unchanged at 0.88 percent.
The U.S. dollar was lower again on Thursday with the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP) trading around 0.14 percent lower to $21.61 late in the day.
The closely watched EUR/USD was close to unchanged at $1.3574. The greenback was around 0.26 percent higher against the Yen to 91.3800. Other notable movers included the GBP/USD which was up 0.40 percent and the USD/CAD which was down around 0.44 percent.
Volatility and Volume
Volatility expectations remain low, but the VIX finished green once again on Thursday, rising 0.14 percent to 14.34.
Volume remained noticeably light despite earnings season. Only around 93 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands on the session compared to a 3-month daily average of 137 million.
Shares of WMS Industries (NYSE:WMS) soared 51 percent after the company agreed to be acquired by Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS).
Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) jumped almost 7 percent after releasing its quarterly earnings results.
Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) surged more than 11 percent after its earnings results.
Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) lost more than 17 percent after the Justice Department sued to block the acquisition of Grupo Modelo by InBev (NYSE:BUD). Constellation had been slated to purchase the remaining 50 percent of Crown Imports it does not own from Grupo Modelo as part of the transaction. InBev lost almost 6 percent on the news of the antitrust lawsuit.
Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) climbed almost 21 percent after reporting strong earnings.
Liquidity Services (NASDAQ:LQDT) lost more than 23 percent of its value after the company reported a lower first-quarter profit and cut its full-year revenue outlook.
Under Armour (NYSE:UA) climbed almost 6 percent after releasing its fourth-quarter financial results.
Mead Jonson (NYSE:MJN) traded up almost 12 percent reporting fourth-quarter earnings that were up 57 percent.
Research in Motion lost around 6 percent on Thursday as the stock continues to fall in the wake of the company's release of the BlackBerry10.
Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) jumped more than 22 percent after releasing strong quarterly earnings results.
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