REUTERS / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY
Duke Blue Devils guard Quinn Cook (2) walks off the court after losing to the Mercer Bears in a men's college basketball game during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at PNC Arena.
The tech-stock-heavy Nasdaq led the market lower.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,302.7 (-28.2, -0.1%)
- S&P 500: 1,866.5 (-5.4, -0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,276.7 (-42.5, -0.9%)
And now the top stories:
- There was no major economic data released today. But certain sectors weighed on the market.
- Biotech stocks got smoked today. The House Energy & Commerce Committee sent a letter to Gilead Sciences asking the company to explain why its new hepatitis C drug costs $84,000. Gilead fell 4%, and it was the second largest loser in the S&P 500. Other biotech stocks that fell sharply included Celgene, Biogen Idec, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Amgen.
- Software giant Symantec got crushed, falling by 13%. It was the biggest loser in the S&P 500. On Thursday afternoon, the company unexpectedly fired CEO Steve Bennett. According to the company, it was "the result of an ongoing deliberative process and not precipitated by any event or impropriety." A special committee of the board will begin its search for a new CEO.
- Several Federal Reserve FOMC members spoke today including the Minneapolis Fed's Narayana Kocherlakota, the lone dissenter in Wednesday's FOMC decision. From his statement: "I dissented from the new guidance for two reasons. The first reason is that the new guidance weakens the credibility of the Committee’s commitment to target 2 percent inflation. The second reason is that the new guidance fosters policy uncertainty and thereby suppresses economic activity."
- St. Louis Fed President James Bullard commented on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's statement that the period between the end of quantitative easing and the first rate hike would be six months, a comment generated a negative response in the markets. "On the 'considerable period' being six months, the surveys that I had seen from the private sector had that kind of number penciled in," he said during a lunch with journalists. "That wasn't very different from what we had heard from financial markets. So, I just think she's just repeating that."
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