Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Economic Data Drags Down Dow

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Stocks slid today as weak economic data caused investors to doubt the strength of the recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) started off with slight gains, but fell steadily over the course of the trading session to finish down 112 points, or 0.8%.

Payroll processer ADP disappointed the market with its March jobs data, reporting that 158,000 jobs were added last month, below the 197,000 that the market expected and the smallest the company has reported since October. ADP's employment figures often differ significantly from the official one from the Labor Department's, which will be released on Friday. Economists expect that report to show 210,000 private sector jobs were added last month.

The ISM Services Index also came in slightly below estimates, hitting a rating of 54.4 against expectations of 55.5.

Oil prices also dropped by 3% late in the day as U.S. supplies hit their highest level since July 1990.

Not surprisingly, the banks were the worst performers on the Dow as Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) fell 2.8% and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) dropped 2.4%. The slowdown in hiring and therefore the economic recovery would put an unexpected hurdle in front of the two big banks, which are dependent on consumers in a recovering housing market. The housing sector received its own warning signal in a report that said that mortgage applications dropped 4% last week.

Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) was one of just three blue chips to buck today's downward trend, finishing the day up 1%. The drugmaker today filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in India against Glenmark pharmaceuticals regarding an anti-diabetes drug. With more than 1 billion people in India, the drug market there looms large, especially as the population steadily moves into the middle class. Earlier this week, Swiss drugmaker Novartis lost a major ruling in India that would have given it patent protection over a cancer drug known as Gilvec.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) also made some small gains today, rising 0.3%, as it reported a new order from British Airways and said it was halfway done with testing of the Dreamliner. In a vote of confidence for the troubled jet, the British airline will order 18 more Dreamliners, on top of an original order of 24, and said the Spanish airline Iberia, a division of the same company, may put in its own order. Testing to get the Dreamliner back in the skies is moving slower than expected but should be done within a month or so.

Can Merck beat the patent cliff?
This titan of the pharmaceutical industry stumbled into 2013 and continues to battle patent expirations and pipeline problems. Is Merck still a solid dividend play, or should investors be looking elsewhere? In a new premium research report on Merck, the Fool tackles all of the company's moving parts, its major market opportunities, and reasons to both buy and sell. To find out more click here to claim your copy today.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2345493, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/25/2016 7:10:49 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 4:55 PM
^DJI $18261.45 Down -131.01 -0.71%
BA $131.78 Down -0.09 -0.07%
Boeing CAPS Rating: ****
BAC $15.52 Down -0.08 -0.51%
Bank of America CAPS Rating: ****
JPM $67.25 Down -0.14 -0.21%
JPMorgan Chase CAPS Rating: ****
MRK $62.96 Down -0.06 -0.10%
Merck and Co. CAPS Rating: ****