Today's economic data dump was overshadowed by an unfavorable surprise from one of America's biggest banks.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,264.2 (-4.7, -0.0%)
- S&P 500: 1,849.0 (-3.5, -0.1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,151.2, (-22.3, -0.5%)
And now the top stories:
- The big loser today was banking behemoth Citi, which fell by 5.4%. On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve announced that it had failed its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, which is an annual bank stress test. "While Citigroup has made considerable progress in improving its general risk-management and control practices over the past several years, its 2014 capital plan reflected a number of deficiencies in its capital planning practices, including in some areas that had been previously identified by supervisors as requiring attention, but for which there was not sufficient improvement," said the Fed. The stock was the worst performer in the S&P 500.
- Initial unemployment insurance claims fell to 311,000 from 321,000 a week ago. This was lower than the 323,000 expected by economists. "The declining trend in initial jobless claims is largely consistent with more further improvement in nonfarm payrolls, with the slip of the trend in claims to the bottom of the 315K-335K range consistent with payroll reports of 200K+," said TD Securities Gennadiy Goldberg.
- The Bureau of Economic Analysis published its final revision to Q4 GDP, and it was good. While GDP growth slowed to 2.6% from 4.1% in Q3, personal consumption growth accelerated to 3.3% from 2.0%. "GDP was important today because the consumer is back!" exclaimed Bank 0f Tokyo-Mitsubishi's Chris Rupkey.
- Pending home sales unexpectedly fell by 0.8% month over month in February. Economists were looking for a 0.2% rise. "Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing," said Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors. "Moreover, buyer traffic information from our monthly Realtor survey shows a modest turnaround, and some weather delayed transactions should close in the spring."
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