By Friday’s close, Wall Street showed itself unable to muster the enthusiasm necessary to recover from the Federal Reserve’s hints this week that Quantitative Easing may be pulled back sooner than expected.
Stocks ended mostly on slight losses, making for the first losing week in over a month, even though Friday brought with it positive economic data in the form of an increase in durable goods orders in the month of April. The commerce department cited a 3.3 percent gain for last month, more than doubling on analysts’ expectations of a 1.4 percent increase.
While orders increased more or less across all categories, the biggest jumps were taken by cars, airplanes, and military goods.
While the Federal Reserve continues to maintain that any cut-backs in its fiscal stimulus program are dependent upon specific improvements in the economy, it seemed this week as though less QE could be the order of the day sooner rather than later. Both the release of the minutes from the latest FOMC meeting, along with Ben Bernanke’s appearance before congress on Wednesday seemed to indicate that a lessening of the Fed’s bond and asset-purchasing program could begin sometime this summer.
The S&P 500 closed on losses for the third consecutive day, down a slight 0.06 percent to 1,649.60 points. Dean Foods Company (DF), lost half of its share price throughout the day, down 50.5 percent to $10.10 in the wake of the company’s spinning off of the WhiteWave Foods Company (WWAV).
Electronics and video game retailers GameStop Corp (GME) lost 10.8 percent to close at $32.11, while Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) ended a terrible week of public relations down 8 percent to $50 per share.
The index was helped immensely by Procter & Gamble (PG), however, up 4 percent to $81.88 on high volume.
The Dow gained a slight 0.06 percent, to close at 15,393.10 points. Procter & Gamble, who announced that they were bringing back former CEO A.G. Lafley to replace the current played a significant role in this as well, but was followed by Wal-Mart (WMT), up 1.28 percent to $77.31.
Hewlett-Packard closed at a 2.6 percent loss, to $24.21 as the enthusiasm resulting from yesterday’s surprisingly good earnings report did carry shares through the day.
The Nasdaq also dropped a slight 0.06 point to close at 3,459.14, led by Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLD), down 13.62 percent to $50.25 after the company’s bleak earnings report showed big declines in sales. Facebook (FB) was down almost 3 percent, with shares closing at $24.31, perhaps the result of news indicating that the company’s attempt to purchase mobile mapping software company Waze Inc. may soon be complicated by a counter offer from Google (GOOG).
Cirrus Logic Inc. (CRUS) was down 2.25 percent to close at $17.36, while Real Goods Solar (RSOL) dropped 5.42 percent to $4 per share.
Meanwhile, Tesla Motors (TSLA) continued its strong recent performance with a 4.7 advance to $97.08, and Baidu Inc (BIDU) gained 2.73 percent to $96.45 per share.