Markets headed south for a second day in a row after investors fully digested the Fed’s recent comments on quantitative easing and several economic reports fueled even more negativity, though a late-day rally cut some of the pain.
A survey of purchasing managers showed Europe is still in the doldrums, while a surprise report from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve showed a decline in its monthly business outlook and an increase in unemployment claims did most of the day’s damage.
The result: losses across the board. The Nasdaq lost 1.04% to close at 3,131.49, while the S&P 500 fell 0.63% to 1,502.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.34% lower to end at 13,880.62.
The big earning news of the day came from retail giant Walmart (NYSE:WMT), which not only announced better-than-expected earnings, but also explained that soft sales in February haven’t been because of higher payroll taxes as was feared, but delayed tax refunds. Walmart also boosted its dividend 18% to 47 cents per share. WMT finished more than 1% higher on the day.
All was gloom in the investment management world after Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) announced disappointing earnings that jolted the stock price down over 7% on the day. Fellow management companies Apollo Management (NYSE:APO, -4.9%), and KKR (NYSE:KKR, -1.3%) fell in sympathy.
Electronic payment systems firm VeriFone (NYSE:PAY) cratered by 42% to hit a multi-year low after providing disappointing revenue and earnings forecasts for 2013. Meanwhile, Electric car maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) plunged more than 8% after posting a bigger loss than expected for the fourth quarter.
Finally, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) continued to ride a resurgence, rising over 2% on the in advance of its fourth quarter earnings release. HPQ stock was sent another 7% higher in post-market trading after HPQ topped revenue and earnings expectations and provided an upbeat look for 2013.
- Safeway (NYSE:SWY): Up 14.1% ($2.84) to $22.97.
- JCPenney (NYSE:JCP): Up 6.7% ($1.36) to $21.55.
- Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN): Up 3.8% (21 cents) to $5.80.
- Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL): Down 9.3% (46 cents) to $4.50
- 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD): Down 8.4% ($5.01) to $54.89
- SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR): Down 7% (92 cents) to $12.25
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.