Updated from 10:20 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 15.
Stocks were sharply lower on Thursday, June 15, as a steep selloff in tech names resumed.
The S&P 500 was down 0.56%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, and the Nasdaq tumbled 1%. The Dow closed with a record on Wednesday, June 14.
Tech stocks took another hit on Thursday as the selloff that ravaged the sector earlier in the week picked up speed again. The FAANG stocks -- Facebook Inc. (FB) , Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Amazon Inc. (AMZN) , Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) (formerly Google) -- were lower, adding to sharp losses seen in the final hours of trading on Wednesday.
Those stocks had accounted for two-fifths of the S&P 500's gains this year, said John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer, during the initial selloff on Monday. That's "reason enough we'd think for some investors to take a little money off the table in the tech space," he wrote in a note.
FAANG stocks moved at least 1% lower on Thursday, while the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) stumbled 1%.
Nike Inc. (NKE) weighed on the Dow after announcing widespread job cuts. The athletic wear company anticipates cuts to 2% of its global workforce, roughly 1,400 workers, as part of corporate restructuring plans. Under the restructuring, Nike plans to limit its styles by 25% and will increase direct-to-consumer offerings. The stock fell 2.7%.
U.S. jobless claims fell in the past week, another sign of a tightening labor market. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits declined by 8,000 to 237,000 in the past week. The less volatile, four-week jobless claims average increased 1,000 to 243,000.
Manufacturing conditions in the New York area swung higher in June to their best level since September 2014. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey for June increased to 19.8 from negative 1 in May.
Business conditions in the Philadelphia area deteriorated slightly in June. The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey decreased to a reading of 27.6 this month, down from 38.8 in May. A decline in June was expected after the measure hit its highest level in more than 30 years a month earlier.
U.S. import prices declined in May in the largest drop in import inflation since February 2016. Weakness in the data is another sign of softening inflation trends. Import prices declined by 0.3% in May, though were flat when excluding fuel prices. Export prices declined by 0.7%.
Industrial production came in flat in May, disappointing analysts looking for a 0.1% increase. April's production figures were revised to show a 1.1% increase, up from a 1% gain previously reported. April's gain was the largest since May 2010.
Homebuilder confidence weakened slightly in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index, which declined to 67 in June from a revised 69 reading in May. Analysts expected the index to come in at 70. NAHB chief economist, Robert Dietz said, in a statement that builders remain frustrated over an "ongoing shortage of skilled labor and buildable lots that are impeding stronger growth in the single-family sector."
On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policy arm of the U.S. central bank, raised interest rates and detailed plans to unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Weeks of hawkish Fed commentary had cushioned markets for a June rate hike as members pointed to a healthy labor market and generally positive economic trends.
The Fed's plans to reduce its balance sheet is a red flag for bears skeptical of this bull market, said James "Rev Shark" Deporre over on our premium site for investors, Real Money. Get his insights with a free trial subscription.
The Fed did concede that recent inflation had shown signs of weakness, particularly on a 12-month basis. Inflation "is expected to remain somewhat below 2% in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee's 2% objective over the medium term," members said in a statement. The Committee is "monitoring inflation developments closely." Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference that "one-off" price decreases were responsible for soft inflation.
Most members also telegraphed one more rate hike this year and an average three in 2018. Yellen did say that the central bank was not on a preset course, though said that the likely rate of economic growth would warrant further interest rate hikes. Yellen gave projections of median short-term rates as 1.4% at end of this year; 2.1% at end of 2018; and 2.9% at end of 2019.
The Bank of England held its key interest rate at 0.25%, as expected, at a meeting on Thursday. That decision was a majority, though a narrower one than previous meetings -- five of the eight votes were cast in favor of holding rates unchanged. The central bank also held its asset purchase program unchanged at 435 billion euros.
"The risk of an unsettling Brexit negotiation is high and the hung Parliament brings with it the possibility of a second election before the end of the year," Societe Generale's Brian Hilliard wrote in a note. "This is hardly the environment in which to start tightening policy."
Reports indicated special counsel Robert Mueller has begun interviewing top government officials as part of an investigation into whether Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice regarding Russia's role in the 2016 election.
Basing its information on several unnamed sources, the newspaper said Mueller's obstruction-of-justice investigation of Trump began within days of Comey's dismissal on May 9. "Preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government," the Post reported.
Kroger Co. (KR) shares declined more than 17% after the grocery store chain slashed earnings guidance for the full year. Kroger cut its 2017 adjusted EPS guidance to between $2 and $2.05 a share, down from its previous view between $2.21 and $2.25 a share. Wall Street has a consensus full-year estimate of $2.20 a share, according to FactSet.
Bob Evans Farms Inc. (BOBE) fell 5% after exceeding analysts' estimates for earnings in its recent quarter but reporting sales that missed. Adjusted earnings of 61 cents a share soared past consensus of 48 cents. Sales came in short, though. Revenue of $99.9 million missed forecasts of $105 million. Guidance for fiscal 2018 also fell short of estimates.
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