Stocks declined for the second consecutive day following dismal forecasts from major companies. The Street also received some domestic reports. The number of Americans filing for the unemployment benefits increased marginally in the previous week. Additionally, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index declined in April. The energy sector was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 industry groups whereas health care stocks were the major losers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 0.6% to close the day at 14,537.14. The S&P 500 dropped 0.7% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,541.61. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index declined 1.2% to end at 3,166.36. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) jumped 6.4% to settle at 17.56. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 7.05 billion shares, significantly higher than this year daily average of 6.36 billion shares. Declining stocks outnumbered the advancers. For the 43% that advanced, 53% declined.
E-commerce major eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) reported its first quarter results after the close of markets on Wednesday. The company’s earnings came in above the Street’s estimate but revenue fell short of expectations. The company’s profit was boosted by robust development in its PayPal and Marketplaces businesses. Revenue from eBay’s PayPal surged 18% in the first quarter. However, the company shares tumbled 5.9% following a weak earnings outlook for the second quarter.
Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) fell 3.8% after the company reported its first-quarter results. The company’s earnings came in slightly above the Street’s estimate. Revenue increased 11% on a year-over-year basis. The company decreased its revenue outlook for the year 2013.
Health care stocks took a beating after UnitedHealth Group released its quarterly results and outlook for the year 2013. The Health Care SPDR (XLV) lost 1.2%. Stock such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) fell 0.9%, 1.8%, 2.2% and 0.9%, respectively.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) also reported its first-quarter results. The company’s earnings and revenue beat the Street’s estimates. Despite robust results, shares of the company tumbled 5.4% after the company said trading revenue declined year-over-year. Revenue from bonds, commodities, and currencies fell sharply in the first-quarter. Thomson Reuters has revised its growth estimate for earnings of S&P 500 companies to 1.9% from the beginning of the month estimate of 1.5%.
On the home front, the U.S. Department of Labor reported initial claims numbers. According to the report, initial claims increased 4,000 to 352,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 348,000. This was contrary to the consensus estimate of a decline to 346,000. The four week moving average also moved up by 2,750 to 361,250 from the prior week’s revised figure of 358,500.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area grew at a slower rate than estimated. The general economic index slipped to 1.3 in April from 2.0 in March. This was well below the consensus estimate of 3.5. New orders decreased to -1 from 0.5 whereas shipments jumped to 9.1 from 3.5. The inventory index plunged to -22.2 after remaining flat.
The energy sector had a good run yesterday and was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 industry groups. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) gained 0.9%. Stocks such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Suncor Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:SU), Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) added 0.6%, 0.7%, 1.3%, 0.4% and 1.5%, respectively.