Stocks Down Across The Board Ahead Of FOMC

Michael Teague |

Stocks ended the day lower on Monday to kick off a week that promises a wealth of economic data ahead of the Labor Department’s jobs report on Friday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the day 0.37 percent lower at 1,685.33 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.24 percent to close at 15,521.97 points, and the NASDAQ saw a loss of 0.39 percent to finish off at 3,599.14 points.

The pending home sales report was released, indicating that contracts to purchase previously owned homes in the US retreated from a six-year high during the month of June. The National Association of Realtors saw its pending home sales index drop 0.4 percent to 110.9, while May’s index was revised downward from 112.3 to 111.3. The results for June came against expectations of a 1 percent drop, yet another display of the modestly improving strength of the housing market.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s manufacturing survey was released, showing that manufacturing activity in the state fell from 17.1 to 11.4 for the month of June. The general business activity index meanwhile was down from 6.5 to 4.4, in the opposite direction of estimates of 7.3.

On top of the economic data, stocks will also have to contend with the continuing blizzard of earnings report releases that continue in earnest on Tuesday. Companies such as US Steel Corp. (X) , JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) , Pfizer Inc. (PFE) , and Proctor & Gamble (PG) , will be reporting.

The big news, as usual, will come out of the Fed on Wednesday at the conclusion of the monthly two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, after which investors will be on the lookout for any indications about the future of stimulus policy. It has become more or less expected that the central bank will begin tapering its $85 billion in monthly asset-purchases come September.

On the S&P 500, US drug manufacturer Perrigo Co. (PRGO) fell 6.7 percent to end at $125.23 after the company announced the acquisition of Irish drug-maker Elan for $8.6 billion. Shares for Elan were up 4.2 percent to $15.56.

Online travel site Expedia (EXPE) continued its decline after last week’s disappointing earnings report, down 2.35 percent, and energy drink-maker Monster was almost 4 percent lower.

Agricultural chemical maker CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF) led the S&P on the upside, jumping 10.5 percent to end the day at over $200 per share after Daniel Loeb’s Third Point revealed a stake in the company.

Bank of America (BAC) , Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Chevron Corp. (CVX) weighed heavily on the Dow, while on the NASDAQ tech shares were down, with losses for Research In Motion Limited (BBRY) , Groupon Inc. (GRPN) , and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) .

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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