Markets closed lower on Wednesday after two days of gains, following President Donald Trump tweet warning Russia of a possible military strike on Syria. Escalating geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia saw investors taking a defensive stance, with U.S stocks tumbling and safe havens rallying. The decline was led by bank stocks such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. However, shares of Facebook increased as the company’s CEO continued his testimony in front of Congress for the second day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) declined 0.9%, to close at 24,189.45. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% to close at 2,642.19, led my telecom and financial stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7069.03, declining 0.4%. A total of 6.04 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.29 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.06-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
How did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow shed 218.55 points on possibilities of escalating geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia following Trump’s tweet hinting at a possible military action in Syria. This saw investors panicking and moving to safe havens. Shares of Boeing (BA - Free Report) , which rallied on Tuesday, once again declined 2.2%. Boeing has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The S&P 500 closed 14.68 points lower, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK)declining 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively. Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, barring Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) and Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) ended the day in negative territory.Also,the Nasdaq declined 25.27 points.
Growing Geopolitical Tensions Make Investors Jittery
Geopolitical tensions have been on the rise since an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last weekend. On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to warn Russia of an imminent missile attack on Syria. Trump’s threat follows comments made to the local media by Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon that any American missile launched Syria’s way will be shot down by Russia.
Trump tweeted: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!".
Such comments made investors panic and move to safer havens. Escalating tensions saw oil prices soaring, giving a boost to energy stocks. Meanwhile, bank stocks plummeted. Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS - Free Report) , The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS - Free Report) andCitigroup Inc. (C - Free Report) declined 2.6%, 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively.
Zuckerberg’s Defense Continues to Help Facebook
Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of U.S lawmakers, which continued for the second day, seems to be helping in reinstating the confidence of investors in Facebook’s prospects. The social media giant’s shares jumped 4.5% on Tuesday and increased 0.8% on Wednesday.
It seems that investors are happy with the way Zuckerberg is handling questions put forward Congress. The company’s shares were down 0.5% at the start of the second day of Zuckerberg’s testimony but started rising once he started defending suggestions made by Congress members that users do not have adequate control over their data and information.
Stocks That Made Headlines
Strong Demand Aids JetBlue's March Traffic, Bullish Q1 View
Joining the likes of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) , American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) and United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) , the low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Free Report) issued an upbeat view on unit revenues for first-quarter 2018. (Read More)
Bed Bath & Beyond Down Despite Earnings Beat in Q4
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY - Free Report) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results, wherein the top and bottom lines surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. (Read More)
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