Late Slide In Tech Mega-Caps Leaves Averages Mixed For Week

Stocks appeared in line for a slight weekly advance until Friday afternoon, when a sharp decline in a number of mega-cap tech stocks - led by Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), and Amazon (AMZN) - pushed the Nasdaq down nearly 2.5% at its low point. The precipitous drop in tech left the Nasdaq with a weekly loss, while the Dow managed a small gain and the S&P was fractionally lower on a weekly basis. Attention next week will turn to central banks, as several of them will be meeting, headlined by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to raise interest rates.

MACRO NEWS: In the U.S., Markit's services PMI was 53.6 in the final print for May, down from the 54.0 preliminary reading, but a little better than April's 53.1 figure. The ISM services index dipped 0.7 points to 56.9 in May. Factory orders slipped 0.2% in April, as expected. Nonfarm productivity growth in the first quarter was revised higher to unchanged from the initially reported decline of 0.6%. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report showed that the number of job openings climbed 259,000 to 6.044M in April, which topped the estimated 5.75M.

In Europe, the U.K. election didn't go as Prime Minister Theresa May hoped, as her Tory party lost parliament seats, resulting in a "hung parliament." After the election, May said she will not step down and plans to put together a government with the support of the Democratic Unionists. The European Central Bank decided that the interest rate on its main refinancing operations and other key interest rates will remain unchanged, as expected. The ECB also confirmed that its net asset purchases, at the current monthly pace of EUR 60B, are intended to run until the end of December 2017, or beyond, if necessary. Additionally, the ECB trimmed its medium-term inflation forecasts. The Eurozone services PMI was largely inline for May, coming in at 56.3 versus the 56.2 flash reading.

In Asia, China's exports grew 8.7% in May, which was ahead of the consensus 7.2% growth forecast. Imports climbed 14.8%, which was much better than expected, as the import volume of a number of major commodities, including iron ore and copper, notably rebounded last month. Japan's services PMI for May was better than expected, rising to 53.0 from 52.2 in April. China's Caixin services PMI rose to 52.8 in May from 51.5 in April. 

COMPANY NEWS: On Monday, Apple gave its WWDC presentation, unveiling a completely redesigned App Store, new iPad Pro and iMac devices, a new smart home speaker called HomePod, as well as a preview of the next version of its mobile and desktop operating systems. Late in the week, the stock was among the number of big name tech stocks that sold off as investors appeared to be rotating into other sectors.

Shares of Alibaba (BABA) advanced over 13% on Thursday after the company hosted its second annual investor day and gave guidance for revenue growth of 45%-49% in fiscal 2018. Additionally, CEO Daniel Zhang reiterated the Chinese company's ambition to nearly double its gross merchandise volume to $1T by 2020 from $547B last year. Shares of Yahoo (YHOO) also surged following the Alibaba guidance and after its stockholders approved the sale of its operating business to Verizon (VZ).

Anthem (ANTM) decided that it will pull out of the Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchange in Ohio next year, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that the move will likely leave 20 counties with no available marketplace plans. 

Macy's (M) declined over 8% on Tuesday after its CFO backed the company's fiscal year earnings guidance but said during the company's investor meeting that its FY17 gross margin could be weaker than previously forecast.

A number of stocks rose, while several others slid following the companies' presentations at the important American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, annual meeting. Among them, Loxo Oncology (LOXO) stood out to the upside, rising by more than 43% on Monday based on the reported response rate for its larotrectinib drug in early use with patients suffering from TRK fusion cancers. Other stocks moving up after ASCO presentations included bluebird bio (BLUE), Kite Pharma (KITE), Dynavax (DVAX) and Radius Health (RDUS). Some downside movers following the cancer conference included NewLink Genetics (NLNK), GlycoMimetics (GLYC) and Juno Therapeutics (JUNO).

Shares of Nordstrom (JWN) jumped 10% on Thursday after the retailer announced that members of the Nordstrom family - including three company co-presidents and its Chairman Emeritus - have formed a group to explore the possibility of buying all of the company's stock and taking it private. In other M&A news, Banco Santander (SAN) announced that it has acquired troubled peer Banco Popular (BPESY), for a "notional consideration" of EUR1. As part of the transaction, Santander will complete a rights issue for a total amount of EUR7B to cover the capital and provisions required to strengthen Popular's balance sheet. Forestar Group (FOR) jumped after homebuilder D.R. Horton (DHI) offered to buy 75% of the company for $16.25 per share in cash, topping the existing $14.25 per share deal between Forestar and Starwood Capital. Albany Molecular Research (AMRI) signed an agreement to be acquired by affiliates of The Carlyle Group and GTCR for $21.75 per share in cash. Digital Realty (DLR) and DuPont Fabros (DFT) announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction.

Among companies that announced quarterly results this week, G-III Apparel (GIII), Thor Industries (THO) and Dave & Buster's (PLAY) advanced immediately following their reports, while HD Supply (HDS), Francesca's (FRAN), Michaels (MIK), Duluth Holdings (DLTH), Ambarella (AMBA) and Cloudera (CLDR) declined.

INDEXES: The Dow gained about 0.3% to close at 21,271.97; the S&P 500 fell about 0.3% to close at 2,431.77; the Nasdaq declined about 1.6% to close at 6,207.92.

Disclosure: None. 


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Chee Hin Teh 5 years ago Member's comment

Thanks for sharing