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Stocks Post Second Day of Steep Declines on Fed Forecast

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks suffered a second day of losses in reaction to the FOMC's policy statement and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed down over 2%. At the same time Treasury yields moved to their highest perch in nearly two years. On the economic front, weekly jobless claims were unable to offer optimism. The Labor Department says there were 354,000 claims last week when estimates had been for 340,000.

Kroger (KR) was one of the day's bigger losers with shares falling more than 6%. The plunge came even as the company beat earnings estimates with its quarterly report and raised its outlook for the year. Kroger, the country's biggest supermarket operator earned a record 92-cents a share when consensus was for 88-cents. The problem: it missed slightly on revenue which came to $30 billion when the expectation was for $30.2 billion. The stock had hit a new 52-week high just yesterday.

Finisar (FNSR) was a rare patch of green today with shares up nearly 9% on quarterly results which were released after yesterday's closing bell. Finisar made 20-cents a share, topping estimates by 3-cents. Revenue was in line with expectations at $243 million. Year-to-date this stock has been down 13%, so today's put the stock close to the flatline.

Linux-maker Red Hat (RHT) was flat after its quarterly report. Excluding items, earnings were 32-cents a share on $363 million in revenue. That's an 8% rise in sales. It has been a tough year for Red Hat shareholders with the stock down about 18%. Shares had been up more than 3% this morning before the regular trading session began.

Nokia (NOK) shares traded higher early on, before paring gains on a report that Microsoft (MSFT) had been trying to take over the handset-maker. The Wall Street Journal reports that talks broke off because the companies couldn't agree on a selling price. The item was one of two that had Microsoft making headlines. Separately, the company has decided to allow the trading of games on its new Xbox One which will debut soon. An earlier plan for restrictions had gamers talking they would prefer to buy the new PlayStation 4 instead. Microsoft shares were down more than 3% for the day.