Significant weakness remains visible on Wall Street in early afternoon trading on Monday, with the major averages stuck firmly in negative territory after closing higher for five consecutive weeks. Earnings anxiety has inspired some traders to cash in on the recent gains.
With financial giants Citigroup (C), JP Morgan (JPM), and Goldman Sachs (GS) among the companies that are due to release their quarterly results this week, many traders are doing some profit taking amid concerns about the outlook for impending earnings season.
Boeing (BA) has contributed to the anxiety about the outlook for earnings, with the aerospace giant saying that its first quarter earnings would be negatively impacted by decisions to reduce airplane production as well as unfavorable price escalation.
In other news, the Treasury Department is directing General Motors Corp. (GM) to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1 deadline, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.
The report specified that one plan under consideration would create a new company that would buy the good assets of the company almost immediately after the carmaker files for bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, Express Scripts (ESRX), one of North America's largest pharmacy benefits management companies, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire health insurer WellPoint's (WLP) NextRx subsidiaries for $4.675 billion.
Express Scripts noted that the transaction value includes consideration for the value of a future tax benefit for the company based on the structure of the transaction.
The major averages have moved well off their worst levels of the day in recent trading, although they remain firmly negative. The Dow is currently down 82.68 at 8,000.70, the Nasdaq is down 15.14 at 1,637.40 and the S&P 500 is down 5.17 at 851.39.
Reflecting broad based weakness in the markets, the majority of the major sector indices are showing noteworthy declines on the day.
Electronic storage stocks are posting particularly steep losses, driving the Amex Disk Drive Index down 3 percent on the day. With the decline, the index has pulled back off the nearly three-month closing high it set on Thursday,
Seagate Technology (STX) is helping to lead the sector lower, with the hard drive maker currently posting a 6.2 percent loss. While Seagate forecast better than expected third quarter revenues, the company also revealed that it is eliminating its quarterly dividend.
After trending higher for much of the past month, semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable weakness in early afternoon trading. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is currently down 3.7 percent after ending Thursday's trading at a nearly six-month closing high.
Real estate, trucking, and housing stocks are also posting considerable losses on the session. The Morgan Stanley REIT Index is down 3 percent, while the Dow Jones Trucking Index and the Philadelphia Housing Index are down 2.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, gold and banking stocks continue to post notable gains, helping to limit the downside for the markets. The Amex gold Bugs Index is up 3.5 percent, while the Kbw Bank Index is up 2 percent.
Health insurance, steel, and brokerage stocks are also bucking the downtrend by the broader markets.
Stocks In The News
SPX Corp. (SPW) is down 17 percent after the company said it now expects first quarter earnings per share from continuing operations to be towards the low end of the previous guidance range of $0.75 to $0.85. Analysts expect earnings of $0.77 per share.
With the decline, the stocks has plummeted from the more than five-month closing high it set on Thursday and has fallen to its lowest level in over a month.
Additionally, Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW) is down 21.5 percent on the day. The loss comes after the Treasury Department said the deadline for approval of Genworth's application to become a savings and loan holding company passed before the Office of Thrift Supervision completed its review of the application, and Treasury said it would not extend the deadline.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is posting a 2.9 percent gain following news that the company has raised $5.5 billion for a fund to buy discounted private equity holdings, as investors anticipate a flood of forced sellers trying to offload private equity stakes.
Overseas, while several of the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region remained closed for Easter Monday, most of the markets in the region that were open closed higher. The major European markets are all closed for the Easter Monday holiday.
In the bond market, treasuries are holding near their highs of the day, continuing to see notable strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note is down 7.4 basis points at 2.852 percent.
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