Stocks surrendered most of Thursday’s FOMC-fueled gains as Wall Street took profits as falling oil continued to pressure the energy sector, and a stronger dollar weighed on shares of multi-nationals. The reversal in the equity market left the Dow Jones Industrial Average back below 18,000, and the S&P 500 lower as a result of losses in nearly all but two sectors. The Nasdaq, however, pulled off an impressive gain as a result of advances in tech stocks, leaving the index flirting with its 15-year high of 5,000.
Today’s economic data failed to generate any interest in riskier assets with most indicators coming in below expectations. Initial jobless claims were the notable exception, increasing only 1,000 to 291,000 in the latest survey week versus the consensus for a 4,000 gain.
The rest of the data was bearish for equities; the current account deficit swelled to $113.5 billion, the index measuring business activity in the Philadelphia Fed region pulled back to 5.0 from 5.2 in February, and leading economic indicators rose an anemic 0.2% versus +0.3% expectations.
Fueling today’s reversal in equities was an impressive rebound in the dollar having lost as much as 2% against the euro in the wake of the FOMC’s dovish statement. The dollar closed higher against nearly all the major currencies, trading back at 1.0640 against the euro, and just shy of 121.00 versus the yen.
In addition, a barrel of crude oil fell more than a dollar today, sending shares of energy producers sharply lower including Dow component stocks Exxon Mobile ( XOM ) and Chevron ( CVX ), both of which lost close to 2% in value.
Here’s where the markets stood at the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 117.16 points (-0.65%) to 17,959.03
S&P 500 was down 10.23 points (-0.49%) to 2,089.27
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.55 points (+0.19%) to 4,992.38
FTSE 100 was up 0.25%
Nikkei 225 was down 0.35%
Hang Seng Index was up 1.45%
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.14%
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