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01/30/15 04:30:45 PM
MARKET SNAPSHOT

S&P Market Commentary

... U.S. stocks moved lower in late-afternoon trading Friday as investors weighed the consequences of a slowdown in U.S. economic growth and the impact of a strengthening dollar on corporate earnings. Oil prices surged. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 138 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,278 as of 3:19 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 shed 14 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,006. The Nasdaq composite slid 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,659. THE QUOTE: "The real issue still is the confusion, the uncertainty around the speed of decline in oil prices and what that means, and the rise in the dollar and what that means for earnings," said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. DOLLAR DILEMMA: Many investors are worried the strengthening dollar will dampen corporate earnings by squeezing revenue in markets outside the U.S., offsetting any benefit consumers overseas are getting from lower oil prices. Those concerns intensified Friday after Russia's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates, sending the ruble down sharply against the dollar "There's fear that the strength of the dollar overseas is hurting sales so much faster than the (impact) of extra money in people's pockets," said JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade's chief strategist. CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 117.43 yen from 118.20 the previous day, but strengthened versus the euro, which slipped to $1.1296 from $1.1327. The Russian ruble was down to 69.09 rubles per dollar from 68.76 after the country's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to 15 percent from 17 percent to help the weakening economy. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose $3.13, or 7 percent, to $47.65 a barrel in New York. Despite Friday's increase, oil remains down 12.5 percent this month. GROWTH SLOWS: The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew 2.6 percent in the October-December quarter. That's down from a gain of 4.6 percent in the second quarter and 5 percent in the third quarter. Growth in consumer spending was offset by weaker business investment, trade and government spending. PAY PICKUP: The Labor Department reported that wages and benefits rose 2.2 percent last year, the biggest calendar-year increase since 2008. The increase is a sign strong job growth could be forcing companies to boost pay for workers. The Fed is watching wages as it considers whether to raise interest rates from near zero. SECTOR WATCH: Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 fell, with utilities and consumer staples declining the most. Energy stocks led among the risers. The sector is down 4.4 percent this year. HOMEBUILDERS: Most U.S. homebuilders were down sharply, led by Beazer Homes USA, which reported a wider quarterly loss and revenue that fell short of financial analysts' expectations. The stock slid $1.65, or 9.6 percent, to $15.60. OIL FALLOUT: Chevron was the biggest decliner in the Dow after the oil company reported a 30 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit. The stock shed 44 cents to $102.56. UGH, UGG: Shares in Ugg footwear maker Deckers Outdoor slumped 18.9 percent after the company reported worse-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings and cut its outlook. The stock lost $15.58 to $66.68. STEEP DIVE: The parent of Hawaiian Airlines reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, but also set a weak first-quarter outlook. That sent shares in Hawaiian Holdings down $7.48, or 28.1 percent, to $19.14. AMAZON: Shares of Amazon.com jumped 14.5 percent a day after the e-commerce giant beat quarterly profit expectations by a mile. The stock gained $45.28 to $357.01. CHARGE IT: MasterCard's fourth-quarter earnings surpassed Wall Street's expectations. The stock added 40 cents to $81.77. Shares in rival Visa, which reported higher earnings and announced a 4-for-1 stock split on Thursday, rose $10.11, or 4.1 percent, to $258.11. BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.66 percent from 1.67 percent late Thursday. That's the lowest since May 2013. AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed to this story.



 

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