Stocks fell 1% last week in quiet trading, with many market participants out for religious observances. Worries about the war in Syria, North Korean saber-rattling, and the coming French elections had investors reining in riskier positions and heading for safe havens.
Real estate, utilities, and consumer-staples stocks were the only sectors that rose last week. Financials—and banks in particular—fell, despite strong earnings reports from the industry’s big kahunas.
Tech stocks, which are out of favor lately, fell 1.4%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Index has finished lower 10 days in a row, only the fourth such streak since 1989, when daily data on the sector was first posted, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Tech stocks rallied in the three months following the three prior pullbacks, all deeper, BIG wrote in a recent report. Tech is down only 2% from its recent highs, and hasn’t yet surpassed the peak set in 2000 during the dot-com boom.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 203 points, or 1%, to 20,453.25 over the four-day span. (The market was closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.) The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.2%, to 5,805.15. Steve Sosnick, senior trader at broker-dealer Timber Hill, notes that much of the damage came in the afternoon Thursday, as traders squared positions ahead of the three-day weekend. “Some people didn’t want to hold positions ahead of a long weekend,” given geopolitical concerns, he says.
(Source: Barrons Online)