U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 03.08.2019

The Free Press WV

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.2% this week in a broad decline led by the health-care, energy and industrial sectors as weaker-than-expected job growth for February raised investors’ worries about the economy while the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China also weighed on sentiment.

The S&P 500 ended the week at 2,743.07, down from last week’s closing level of 2,803.69. This marks the index’s largest weekly drop since December.

The decline came as data released Friday by the Labor Department showed US nonfarm payrolls rose by just 20,000 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, handily missing the 175,000 increase economists had expected.

Meanwhile, the trade dispute between the US and China remains unresolved and a report by the Wall Street Journal cited the US ambassador to China as saying the US and China have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve it. The ambassador said negotiators need to further narrow the gap in their positions before arrangements are made for a summit, according to the report.

The health-care and energy sectors had the largest declines of the week, down 3.9% each, followed by a 2.9% drop in industrial stocks. Other sectors down by more than 2% included financials, consumer discretionary and technology.

Just two sectors ended the week in the black: utilities, which edged up 0.7%, and real estate, which eked out a gain of 0.5%.

The health-care sector’s decliners included Cardinal Health (CAH), whose shares fell 10% even as the medical-products distributor reported fiscal Q1 adjusted earnings per share and revenue above analysts’ expectations and raised its guidance for fiscal 2019 adjusted EPS.

In the energy sector, Halliburton (HAL) shares fell 11% on the week while Concho Resources (CXO) shed 9.7%.

Among industrial stocks, meanwhile, shares of Alaska Air Group (ALK) fell 9.3% this week as the company lowered its unit revenue outlook for Q1. Imperial Capital downgraded its investment rating on the shares to in line from outperform while reducing its price target on the stock to $61 each from $90. Meanwhile, Buckingham Research cut its price target on the stock to $80 from $88.

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