March 16, 2017: The S&P 500 closed lower on the day, down 0.17% and 4.01 points to 2,381.26. Separately the DJIA closed down 0.09% on the day at 20,932.16, down approximately 17.94 points. The health care, utilities, and oil & gas stocks acted as kryptonite to an otherwise flat market. On the other hand, the financial sector was relatively strong, continuing to ride higher on the Fed’s coattails. The only other standout industries were grocery stores and textiles, although there were some bright stocks scattered around with no clear pattern. It seems that companies are still trying to figure out how this post rate-hike world will look—uncertain for now.
Crude oil just can’t make up its mind after having a spectacular Wednesday. We saw crude close ever so slightly lower on Thursday at $48.83.
Gold has continued to push above the $1,200 level, perhaps with some help from the Fed and international markets. This commodity rose 2.1% or $25.20, closing at $1,225.90.
As we have said before, the main industries that showed weakness in the index were healthcare, oil & gas, and utilities. Obviously, the Fed announcement could play into the drop in utilities and oil & gas, providing more competition for their dividends. While major health care stocks traded lower after proposals from President Trump’s budget showed higher regulatory costs for the sector.
Financial stocks were positive following the Fed announcement and with rates continuing up major banks stand to make a lot more money. Grocery stores and textiles rounded out a couple of the other positive industries in the Index.
The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) which traded down 4.6% at $279.08. The stock’s 52-week range is $223.02 to $333.65. Volume was 3.4 million versus the daily average of 1.6 million shares.
The stock posting the largest daily percentage gain in the S&P 500 ahead of the close Thursday was Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) which jumped 6.5% to $45.83. The stock’s 52-week range is $37.62 to $46.99. Volume was 60.1 million which is way above the daily average of around 12.0 million shares.