Despite strong morning trading, the Dow finished the day down -0.34% to 17,824.29. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 followed suit, with the NASDAQ dropping -0.43 to 4,744.40 while the S&P 500 fell down -0.34% to 2,055.47. In overseas trading, markets were mixed across Europe while Japan’s Nikkei continued a week-long surge to end the day up 0.82%, or 145.06 points, and finish trading at 17,648.50.
Financial Sector Continues to Strengthen - Lead by solid gains from Verisign (VRSN) and Moody’s (MCO), the financial sector finished the day up 0.87%. Verisign rallied 5.29% to finish at 59.96, while Moody’s put on 5.11% and finished up at 98.04. After a week of solid gains on the back of surprisingly high Q4 profits, MasterCard (MA) leveled off today, losing 1.93% to close at 84.16, although the company is still up 2.60% over 5 days. American Express (AXP) put on another 0.33% today, capping off an all around excellent week with a share price of 85.01.
LinkedIn Surges on Q4 Gains – Online employment networking site LinkedIn (LNKD) posted strong Q4 gains today, and that sent its stock price soaring. LinkedIn finished the day up 25.43 points, or 10.69%, and closed at 263.40 per share. Fellow social media player Twitter (TWTR) also had an outstanding day, gaining 16.36%, or 6.75 points, to close at 48.01. Facebook (FB) has had a slow week, dropping 1.51% in trading today, and falling 1.90% over 5 days, to close the week out at 74.47 per share.
Digital Services Take a Dive – Companies like Symantec (SYMC), Expedia (EXPE), Intuit (INTU), and TripAdvisor (TRIP) were all down big today, after a mix of poor earnings reports and lessening demand took its toll. Antivirus vendor Symantec lost -4.60% to close at 24.78, largely erasing the gains that it had made over the course of the week. Expedia and TripAdvisor fell -11.51% and -2.88% respectively, with Expedia taking larger than expected losses because of weak Q4 earnings. Expedia (EXPE) closed the day at 77.87 and TripAdvisor (TRIP) finished at 68.55. Intuit (INTU) also shed value after concern was raised about potentially fraudulent tax filings from the software company. Stock prices dropped -4.22% to finish at 87.84.
Currency and Commodities – The yield on 10-year treasury notes rose to 1.94%, continuing a trend brought about by the strengthening US economy. Crude oil, heating oil, and natural gas futures all rose today, with crude settling in at around $52.00 per barrel. The price of a gallon of gasoline fell slightly, ending the day at $2.58. The dollar gained ground today against most major currencies, except for the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan which were buoyed by solid gains in their respective markets.