After Market: Foreign Fears Outweigh Upbeat Economic News

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Stocks drifted lower on Thursday despite some generally upbeat economic news. Fourth-quarter GDP was revised higher and jobless claims declined, but investors are still feeling uncertain. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) edged down by 4 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 22, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped 3 points.

Trading was active in the stocks of the nation's biggest banks after the Federal Reserve ruled on their capital plans. Citigroup (C), one of five companies to have its plan rejected, tumbled 5 percent.
Bank of America (BAC), which sponsors this report, fell 1 percent despite getting the Fed's go-ahead. Morgan Stanley (MS) and SunTrust (STI) also fell 1 percent. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and Regions Financial (RF) both lost more than 2 percent. But Wells Fargo (WFC) and Capital One (COF) gained more than 1 percent.

Several Nasdaq leaders continued to chip away at their gains from last year. Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) all fell more than 1 percent. Tesla (TSLA) lost 3 percent.

But Twitter (TWTR) rose nearly 4 percent on a report that it has a new music service in the works. It also partnered with Billboard to provide real-time music data.

One of the big stories Wednesday was the disappointing debut of King Digital (KING), the owner of the popular game "Candy Crush." That sparked worries the IPO market had peaked, but those fears were laid to rest today with three successful IPOs.
  • TriNet (TNET), a human resources consultant, jumped 19 percent from its offering price.
  • Square 1 Financial (SQBK) gained 14 percent,
  • And a biotech firm, Applied Genetics (AGTC), jumped 23 percent.
Elsewhere, Baxter International (BAX) rose 4 percent after saying it will split into two separate companies -– one for medical products, the other for bio-pharmaceuticals. Baxter stock is now in the plus column year-over-year, but just barely.

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) gained 6 percent as earnings topped expectations.

Signet Jewelers (SIG), which owns the Jared and Kay chains, gained 6.5 percent on an upbeat forecast.

But GameStop (GAME) issued weak earnings guidance and said it will close more stores. The stock fell 4 percent.

What to Watch Friday:
  • The Commerce Department reports personal spending and income for February at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The University of Michigan releases its final estimate for March consumer sentiment at 10 a.m.
  • Smartphone-maker BlackBerry (BBRY) reports quarterly financial results.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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