Stocks pulled back for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as the relative absence of economic data gave investors more time to worry about the timing of the Federal Reserve’s changes to its fiscal stimulus program.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed beneath the 1,700 watermark it broke July 31, down 0.38 percent to 1,690.91, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.31 percent lower at 15,470.67, and the NASDAQ was 0.32 percent lower, closing at 3,654.
The only major economic news for the day came from the Federal Reserve in the form of the June consumer credit report that showed total credit increasing by $13.8 billion for the period for a total of $2.85 trillion, while analysts had been expecting a larger increase of $15 billion. Meanwhile, revolving credit from credit cards and similar products fell by $2.7 billion, and May’s increase was revised downward by $2 billion to $17.5 billion.
Earnings were also a big part of the picture on Wednesday, as a number of sizeable companies reported mostly disappointing quarterly income for the previously-ended period that held stocks back.
The S&P 500 succumbed to pressure from First Solar (FSLR) who dropped over 13 percent after the previous day’s late earnings report release that showed the company having an awful time during the second quarter. Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) was in tow, ending the day nearly 9 percent lower after its own dismal quarterly earnings report was released. Meanwhile one of the world’s leading independent oil and gas drillers, Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) , finished 4.75 percent lower after an unexpected miss in its own quarterly income statement.
Services stocks took the Dow lower, with Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and The Home Depot Inc. (HD) posting the index’s biggest losses, while on the NASDAQ, tech shares fared poorly, with losses for Zynga (ZNGA) , Blackberry (BBRY) , and Himax Technologies (HIMX) . Solar stocks, led by First Solar, were down nearly across the board as well.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) also ended the day 5.5 percent lower as many investors and analysts were not expecting the company’s late-trading release of its Q2 earnings report to replicate its surprising first quarter performance. The company’s income statement for the recently ended period destroyed expectations however, sending the stock soaring in afterhours activity.