Daily market review

United States

Equities fell for a second day Thursday as the bounce from mid-March lows appeared overdone and bad news on Ukraine continued. Selling accelerated headed into the close and the major indexes ended at the day's lows. The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both slipped 1.6 percent, and the NASDAQ lost 1.5 percent.

Risk appetite remained depressed after markets sold off Wednesday on disappointment that headlines suggesting progress in Russia-Ukraine talks haven't panned out. News that Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded payment for Russian oil be made in rubles aggravated concerns about supply disruptions, and Germany rejected Putin's demand. Separately, oil prices eased on news the US would release up to 180 million barrels of oil from its reserves.

Among sectors, financials, communications services, and tech stocks lagged, along with retail, media, telecom, homebuilders, trucking companies, and drug stores. Utilities, real estate, plus steel, precious metals, and airlines held up best. Megacaps gave back some of their recent gains to weigh on the major stock averages, with Meta down 2.4 percent, Apple down 1.8 percent, and Amazon down 2.0 percent.

Among companies in focus, analyst downgrades whacked AMD, the chipmaker, down 8.3 percent, HP down 6.5 percent, and Dell Technologies down 7.6 percent. Walgreens, the drug store chain, lost 5.7 percent on poor non-US sales and weak guidance. Tempur Sealy, the mattress merchant, fell 3.7 percent after a negative pre-announcement on sales due to fallout from Ukraine. Homebuilders were especially weak, with Lennar off 3.5 percent and KB off 4.5 percent.

On the positive side, airlines advanced with support from lower oil prices, with American Airlines and United Airlines both up 1.1 percent.

These price data reflect observations at 4:00 PM US ET: Dated Brent spot crude oil fell US$4.64 to US$107.91 while spot gold rose US$2.25 to US$1,937.92. The US dollar traded higher vs. major currencies. The US Treasury 30-year bond yield fell 4 basis points to 2.44 percent, and the 10-year note yield lost 2 basis points to 2.33 percent.


Equities retreated for a second day to end a gloomy quarter as sentiment remained bearish amid lack of progress toward a Ukraine settlement. The Europe-wide STOXX 600 fell 0.8 percent, the German DAX lost 1.3 percent, the French CAC declined 1.2 percent, and the UK FTSE 100 was down 0.8 percent.

Weak Chinese purchasers reports and a selloff in Chinese stocks depressed risk appetite. Among sectors, retail, autos, and banks led the decliners while utilities and insurance stocks held up best. Energy stocks slipped as oil prices declined.

Among retailers, H&M dropped 13 percent after an earnings miss, with lost sales in Russia and Ukraine a big problem. Bike24, the bike store, fell 4.4 percent on poor trading results. Among autos, Volkswagen fell 1.4 percent after reports it may face a large recall of vehicles.

On the positive side, Energiekontor, an alternative energy generator, rose 5.8 percent on an earnings beat and positive guidance. Brewin Dolphin, the investment adviser, gained 61 percent on news of a takeover offer from RBC.

Asia Pacific

Asia-Pacific equities declined Thursday with Chinese markets lagging on weak economic data and concern over US delisting of Chinese stocks over audit rules.

Chinese stocks were hurt by news that the US Securities and Exchange Commission added new names to its list of US-listed Chinese firms failing to meet its disclosure requirements. News that China's manufacturing sector contracted in March was another negative. The Chinese CSI 300 index declined 0.7 percent and the Shanghai index declined 0.4 percent.

Hong Kong stocks lagged the mainland, with the Hang Seng index down 1.1 percent, with technology, biotech, and health care lagging. Baidu, the internet services giant, declined 3.2 percent after being named by the SEC for failing to meet US audit requirements.

A weak close on Wall Street and disappointing Chinese economic data depressed Japanese markets, along with profit-taking at quarter end. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 percent and the wider TOPIX lost 1.1 percent.

The Taiwan Taiex eased 0.3 percent and the South Korean KOSPI gained 0.4 percent. The Indian BSE Sensex declined 0.2 percent. The All Ordinaries index eased 0.1 percent with tech and consumer discretionary shares weakest while materials and telecom held up best.

Looking ahead*

In Asia/Pacific, Japanese Tankan, South Korean external trade, South Korean PMI manufacturing, Taiwan PMI manufacturing, Japanese PMI manufacturing final, and Chinese PMI manufacturing figures are scheduled. In Europe, reports on Swiss CPI, Swiss SVME PMI, French PMI manufacturing, German PMI manufacturing, Eurozone PMI manufacturing, UK PMI manufacturing, and Eurozone HICP flash are due. In North America, US employment, ISM manufacturing, PMI manufacturing, and construction spending reports are on tap.

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