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Bad start for stocks, especially Twitter

Posted at 10:50 AM, May 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-06 10:50:54-04

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Tuesday has been a lucky day for stock market bulls, but this particular Tuesday is off to a lackluster start.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all down in early trading. The Dow was off over 75 points shortly after the bell.

The S&P 500 has gained every Tuesday for the past eight weeks. So far this year, the index has advanced every Tuesday except two.

However, investors are skeptical about pushing stocks too high. The CNNMoney Fear and Greed index shows investors are still feeling fearful, just days after the Dow Jones industrial average hit an all-time high.

Twitter shares led the plunge this morning, hitting a new low in early trading as the “lock-up” period for company insiders to sell the stock expired. Under federal securities law, company founders and executives must wait six months before selling any shares following an initial public offering. The stock is now trading around $35 a share — that’s still well above its IPO price of $26 — but it’s the lowest trading price for the social media giant.

Drugmaker Merck announced that it will sell its consumer care business to Bayer AG for $14.2 billion. It was the latest in a recent spate of larger mergers in the pharmaceutical industry. Merck fell slightly in early trading.

DirecTV shares gained after the satellite TV company reported stronger-than-expected earnings, despite a quarterly slide in net profit year over year.

Office Depot shares also surged after announcing solid earnings and plans to close 400 stores.

Well known brands Groupon, Disney and Whole Foods will report after the close.

For the rest of the week, analysts say the biggest market moves will be testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen on Wednesday, a meeting of the European Central Bank on Thursday, and ongoing tensions in Ukraine.

In Europe, investors were parsing through major bank earnings from UBS and Barclays.

Shares in Barclays fell after the British bank released worse-than-expected quarterly numbers.

Shares in UBS were inching up after the Swiss bank said it would pay a special dividend.

Credit Suisse was also in focus amid reports the bank could be hit with a criminal penalty as it negotiates with the U.S. government over charges it helped American clients avoid taxes.

Overall, European markets were mixed in morning trading. Barclays was dragging the London FTSE 100 index down.

Markets in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were closed Tuesday. But the other Asian markets made gains.

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Monday. The Dow closed up 0.1% after dropping 120 points early in the trading session. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also recovered from early losses, closing with a small gain.

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