Stocks turned early gains into losses again Wednesday, as indexes closed sharply lower and near session lows.
The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 1% as Boeing (BA) crumbled more than 2% and more than a third of the Dow’s stocks shed more than 1%. The S&P 500 dropped 0.6%, with Signet Jewelers (SIG) posting its single largest decline.
The Nasdaq Composite fought a back-and-forth battle as it tested support near its 7500 level, but ended down 0.2% as Tesla (TSLA) took a steep dive and despite solid gains posted by all four FANG stocks. The S&P 500 fell 0.6%.
Preliminary data showed volume was mixed, higher on the NYSE and lower on the Nasdaq.
Weak February retail sales released before the open may have had some early influence on the day’s action. Department stores, drug stores and automakers scored Wednesday’s three deepest losses among industries.
A federal report on weekly oil inventories showed a sharp buildup and increasing production, triggering a midday sell-off in energy stocks. On the Dow, both Exxon-Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) ended down more than 1%.
Another aspect of the stock market today came in charges from the Securities Exchange Commission in two separate cases. One was an insider trading charge against Jun Ying, a high-ranking executive at Equifax (EQIX) who was charged with selling over $1 million in shares just before the company announced a huge data breach last year.
The other was Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive of blood test laboratory Theranos. Holmes was charged with overseeing widespread fraud at the company linked to its proprietary blood testing technology. The SEC said it was also pursuing charge against Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former president and chief operating officer.
Tesla, Boeing, China Lodging Dive; Square, Casa, PayPal Spike
Tesla slid 4.5% in rising trade after news reports cited unnamed sources claiming the auto maker was turning out an unusually high number of “flawed parts or vehicles.” The loss drove shares back below their converged 50- and 200-day moving averages.
Investors harshly punished weak earnings performances reported on Wednesday. Signet Jewelers collapsed 20%, despite beating Q4 earnings and revenue estimates, after it guided full-year revenue and earnings below expectations.
Leaders posted a mixed session. At the top of the IBD 50, Square (SQ) surged 5% and Casa Systems and PayPal jumped 4% each. The gains sent Square and Casa to fresh highs, while PayPal broke out of a cup with handle with an 82.27 buy point.
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