U.S. equities finished mostly lower with the NASDAQ being the only major index in the green. The tech-heavy index overcame weakness stemming from disappointing guidance from its largest constituent, Apple. The tech giant warned that supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak were constraining the supply of iPhones. Conagra shares suffered after the food manufacturer lowered its 2020 guidance for both the top and bottom line. HSBC added to the day’s disappointing earnings and announced as many as 35,000 jobs will be cut over three years. Walmart posted Q4 results that topped expectations for earnings, but fell short on revenues. Treasury yields were lower. Economic data provided a better-than-expected read on regional manufacturing and showed strong home builder sentiment. The U.S. dollar was higher, along with gold on bids for safety. Crude oil prices fell and global equities finished mostly lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 166 points (0.6%) to 29,232, the S&P 500 fell 11 points (0.3%) to 3,370 and the NASDAQ was up 2 points to 9,733. 916 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.2 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI oil was flat at $52.05 per barrel and wholesale gasoline added $0.03 to $1.61 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price added $17.20 to $1,603.60 per ounce. The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—rose 0.4% to 99.43.
The Empire Manufacturing Index, a measure of activity in the New York region, moved further into a level depicting expansion (above zero) for February, rising to 12.9 from the 4.8 level posted in January, and north of the FactSet forecast of 5.0. New orders and shipments rose sharply and inventories increased significantly, though employment expanded only modestly.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index showed home builder sentiment in February dipped to 74 from January’s unrevised 75 level, where it was expected to remain, with a level of 50 separating good and poor conditions.
This week will be shortened by Monday’s holiday but the economic docket will remain robust with housing data coming into focus, as today’s release of homebuilder sentiment will be followed by housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales reports. Manufacturing data for February will also likely command attention, with this morning’s regional report out of New York being followed by a read out of the key Philadelphia region, along with Markit’s preliminary Manufacturing PMI. We will also get some timely data points in the form of weekly initial jobless claims and the Leading Index.
Treasuries were higher, with the yield on the 2-year note declining 2 basis points (bps) to 1.41%, the yield on the 10-year note dropping 3 bps to 1.56%, and the 30-year bond rate falling 3 bps to 2.01%.
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