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There were few earnings releases for the final full week of March, but there were a few notable economic reports. Below, we highlight the biggest market events for the week ended March 27.
We started off the week with a rise in existing home sales. While existing home sales increased 1.2% in February, the figure missed analysts’ expectations on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.
The markets remained mostly flat on Monday, as few earnings and economic reports were released. The weaker dollar resulted in a rally in oil prices, bringing WTI crude oil up 1.9% to $47.45 per barrel and Brent crude oil up 1.1% to $55.92 per barrel.
The Dow dipped 0.1%, the S&P dropped 0.2% and the Nasdaq lost 0.3%.
On Tuesday morning, McCormick & Company (MKC ) reported better-than-expected first quarter results, but cut its outlook for 2015.
Strong housing data was released, as the new home sales indicated that sales increased to their highest rate in seven years in February.
In dividend news, Freeport-McMoRan (FCX ) cut its dividend 84% from 31.25 cents to 5 cents quarterly. The company cited lower commodity prices as the cause of the dividend cut.
The Dow dipped 0.6%, the S&P dropped 0.6% and the Nasdaq lost 0.3%.
Before Wednesday’s opening bell, Paychex (PAYX ) reported better-than-expected third quarter results. The financial media was taken over by an announcement that Kraft Foods (KRFT) and H.J. Heinz have agreed to merge in a $36 billion deal. The announcement also included a report that the company will pay investors a $16.50 special dividend.
In economic news, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that durable goods fell 1.4% in February, compared to an estimate of a 0.2% rise.
The Dow dipped 1.6%, the S&P dropped 1.5% and the Nasdaq lost 2.4%.
On Thursday morning, outsourcing company Accenture (ACN ) reported second quarter results, which beat analysts’ estimates.
In economic news, weekly jobless claims declined by 9,000 from the prior week, indicating a possible improvement in the job market.
The markets ended in the red for the fourth day in a row, marking the S&P’s longest losing streak since January.
After hours, GameStop (GME) released worse-than-expected results for the fourth quarter, as well as a weak outlook for the year.
The Dow dipped 0.2%, the S&P dropped 0.2% and the Nasdaq lost 0.3%.
To wrap up the week, there were two premarket earnings for dividend investors to take note of:
The GDP report was also released on Friday morning, indicating that the economy grew by 2.2% in the fourth quarter.