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27.02.2019 05:08

Major US stock indexes finished trading below zero

Major US stock indexes fell slightly, as investors analyzed the disappointing reports of Home Depot (HD), mixed economic data and the performance of the head of the Federal Reserve System Jerome Powell in Congress.

Home Depot (HD) reported fourth-quarter earnings at $ 2.09 per share, which was below analysts' average forecast of $ 2.16. The company's revenue was also lower than expected. The home goods retailer also presented weaker-than-expected forecasts for the current year. Against this background, shares of the largest US home goods retailer show a nearly 2 percent decline, even though the company announced the approval of a $ 15 billion share buyback program and an increase of 32% in dividends.

After the publication of Home Depot results, ambiguous data on the housing market came out. As the report of the Ministry of Commerce showed, housing construction volumes decreased in December by 11.2%, to 1,078 million units. This was the weakest indicator since September 2016. November data were revised down from 1.256 million to 1.214 million units. At the same time, the number of building permits rose by 0.3% to 1.326 million units in December. Economists had forecast a decline to 1.290 million units.

However, US consumer confidence data exceeded expectations and helped the market cut losses. In the Conference Board reported that the consumer confidence index in February now stands at 131.4, compared with 121.7 in January (revised from 120.2). Analysts had expected the index to be 124.7. According to the report, the current situation index — based on consumers' assessments of current business and labor market conditions — increased from 170.2 to 173.5, and the expectations index — based on short-term consumer forecasts for income, business and labor market conditions — improved from 89.4 to 103.4.

Market participants also evaluated statements by Fed Chairman Powell. He said that the economy is "healthy", but added that the Fed also sees "cross currents and conflicting signals." This happened after the Fed took a more cautious stance on the future rate hike in the past month.

Most of the components of DOW recorded an increase (20 of 30). The leader of growth were shares of Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO, + 1.10%). Caterpillar Inc. shares turned out to be an outsider. (CAT, -2.30%).

The S & P sectors closed the bidding mixed. The largest increase was shown by the consumer goods sector (+ 0.2%). The rest of the conglomerates sector decreased more (-0.5%).

At the time of closing:

Dow 26,057.98 -33.97 -0.13%

S & P 500 2,793.90  -2.21 -0.08%

Nasdaq 100 7,549.30 -5.16 -0.07%


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