Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down sharply Friday as weaker-than-expected manufacturing data in the U.S. and Europe renewed fears of slowing global growth.
  • Shares of Nike (NKE tumbled 6.6% after the sports apparel company posted weaker-than-expected third quarter sales in its key North American market.
  • Tiffany & Co. (TIF   shares rose 3.2% despite the luxury jewelry retailer missing Wall Street's fourth-quarter sales expectations.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks closed down sharply Friday, having their worst day since January 3, after Wall Street was rattled by weaker-than-expected manufacturing data in the U.S. and Europe.

U.S. manufacturing activity eased to the lowest level in nearly two years in March, according to IHS Markit's flash reading. A sub-reading of manufacturing output, IHS said, fell to 52.5, well below the 53.6 point forecast and the lowest level since June 2017.

Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, slumped to the lowest level in more than six years, according to IHS Markit, with new orders falling to a 2012 trough.

"Germany's latest PMI reading of 44.7 was well below consensus forecast of 48 and the weakest since 2012," said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell. "Given Germany's status as Europe's biggest economy, the bleak news is aggravating existing worries over global growth. It's no surprise equity futures and bond yields are lower, reflecting worries over slower economic and earnings growth prospects."

Young noted that Russell 1000 companies get much of their of revenue overseas "and increasingly weak leading economic indications don't bode well for corporate earnings or stock valuations, which are no longer cheap after a huge year-to-date rally."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 460 points, or 1.8%, to 25,502, the S&P 500 fell 1.90% and the Nasdaq declined 2.5%. The S&P 500 was headed toward its worst trading day since early January.

The drop in manufacturing activity piled more pressure on the Treasury yield curve, which inverted for the first since in more than 10 years. Bank stocks, such as Citigroup (C and Morgan Stanley (MS   suffered some of their worst losses in years, as the inverted yield curve makes lending less lucrative and less attractive.

"PMI basically indicates manufacturers are struggling with tariffs and external worries about the global economy," said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group. "PMI does not indicate recession here in the U.S., but it's going to hard to stay above 2% GDP growth if this keeps up."

US Treasury Curve Inverts for 1st Time Since 2007 After Weak Factory Output Data

Shares of Nike Inc. (NKE tumbled 6.6% to $82.19 after the sports apparel company posted weaker-than-expected third quarter sales in its key North American market, which was due in part to issues with product timing launch. 

Tiffany & Co. (TIF climbed 3.2% to $103.21 even though the luxury jewelry retailer missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter sales expectations. The company said sales during the holiday season fell unexpectedly as Chinese tourists spent less and demand in Europe fell.

The bad news continued for Boeing (BA as the beleaguered planemaker may lose a $6 billion order for its 737 MAX 8 after Indonesia's national airline moved to cancel or amend a previous agreement for the controversial aircraft in light of two fatal crashes. Shares slipped 2.8% to $362.17.

Shares of Zuora (ZUO sank after the cloud-based subscription billing and management company offered disappointing revenue guidance of its first quarter and full year. Shares tumbled 14.1% to $20.90.

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