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%.
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%.
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:
- Carnival Corp (CCL ) – Turned a profit for the quarter, compared a net loss last year. Beat EPS estimates.
- Finish Line (FINL ) – Reported lower earnings, but higher revenue. Beat analysts’ views.
The GDP report was also released on Friday morning, indicating that the economy grew by 2.2% in the fourth quarter.