News of raised dividends and share buybacks in the financial sector fueled positive sentiment early Thursday, but broad weakness in the Nasdaq took center stage as biotechs, semiconductor stocks and China-based names took heat.
The Nasdaq composite fell 2% and gave up its 50-day moving average; the S&P 500 dropped 1.2% and the Dow Jones industrial average gave back 1%. JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) were among a handful of gainers in the blue-chip index, up about 1% each. Volumes on the NYSE and Nasdaq were tracking about 15-20% higher than Wednesday’s levels in the stock market today.
In economic news, the final revision to Q1 GDP came in better than expected at 1.4% vs. a prior estimate of 1.2%. Bonds sold off again, sending the 10-year Treasury yield higher by 4 basis points to 2.26%.
Among the day’s movers, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) scrapped its merger agreement with Rite Aid (RAD) and announced a new deal that instead has it buying 2,186 Rite Aid stores, about half its total, for $5.18 billion. Walgreens gave back a good chunk of a 5.8% intraday gain, rising just 0.7%. Rite Aid crashed by 28%.
Blue Apron‘s (APRN) IPO didn’t go over very well after its proposed range was lowered Wednesday to 10-11 from 15-17. Shares priced Wednesday night at 10, opened at 10 and were recently trading around 10.17, good for a market capitalization just under $2 billion.
In earnings news, Constellation Brands (STZ) jumped 5% after earnings topped expectations. Sales missed, but investors seemed to focus on decent guidance and an 8% rise in beer sales.
Meanwhile, a string of earnings disappointments came to an end for Acuity Brands (AYI) as shares jumped nearly 8%. The maker of industrial lighting products reported a slight acceleration in sales, up 5%, while earnings rose 4% to $2.15 a share and beat views. However, growth has slowed dramatically in recent quarters.
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