Federal Reserve Chairman Sinks Stock Market, Entrepreneur Index™ Finishes Down
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Almost nothing good ever comes from Fed-speak.
True to form, the major stock indexes dropped sharply late in the day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell held a press conference following the central bank's policy meeting this week. Early gains for the S&P 500 and Dow indexes evaporated and the Nasdaq Composite index, up sharply in the morning on the strength of Apple's earnings, ended the day off 0.57 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ also retreated after a good start, closing the day down 0.77 percent.
Investors apparently expected the Fed to cave to pressure from President Trump and cut interest rates. It didn't. Chairman Powell noted that the economy was still growing well but that inflation remained below two percent target and suggested that the Fed would keep rates where they are for the time being. Investors sold both stocks and bonds on the news, driving up the 10-year Treasury bond yield by five basis points in half an hour.
The reversal in interest rates dampened a promising day for interest rate-sensitive REITs and homebuilders. Most of the nine REITs on the Entrepreneur stayed in the black but were down sharply in the afternoon. Simon Property Group and Extra Space Storage had the biggest gains, rising 2.33 percent and 2.3 percent respectively. Mall operator Macerich Company once again had the biggest loss in the sector, falling 0.3 percent. Homebuilder D.R. Horton, up more than two percent this morning, ended the day with a gain of just 0.09 percent.
Technology stocks were also up nicely in the morning after Apple, the last of the FAANG stocks to report this season, blew away expectations. They too faded in the afternoon. Adobe Systems Inc. (-2.04 percent) and salesforce.com (-1.94 percent) had the biggest losses. Alphabet Inc., down 7.7 percent yesterday after reporting disappointing financial results, fell another 1.72 percent today. Netflix was the notable exception in the sector, rising 2.23 percent.
Clothing-maker Under Armour Inc. had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™, falling 4.55 percent. The company is growing rapidly overseas but treading water in North America, its biggest market. While up 24.7 percent this year, Wall Street analysts have expressed concern that the company is still losing shelf space to bigger competitors like Nike and smaller ones like Champion. The company reports earnings tomorrow.
Pest control company Rollins Inc. (-3.96 percent) was also down sharply on no apparent news. The stock is not typically volatile as the company has a log track record of solid sales and earnings growth. It is up 2.88 percent so far this year and 14.1 percent in the last twelve months.
Other significant declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ today included L Brands (-2.81 percent), Bed Bath & Beyond (-2.45 percent) and whiskey-maker Brown-Forman Corp. (-2.14 percent). Fedex Corp. and medical products maker Boston Scientific were also down 2.03 percent and 1.99 percent respectively.
The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.