Since it really is all about the Economy, let’s do a wrap up of the week in the news and financial sectors. I’m using Fox Business Network as a source. If anyone has a more preferred one let me know, and I’ll incorporate those.
President Obama met today with key leaders of the banking sector:
Bankers Goes to D.C.
Financial stocks hit session lows following the conclusion a meeting in Washington between President Barack Obama and the CEOs of 14 of the nation’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM: 27.5799, -1.5401, -5.29%), Citigroup (C: 2.61, -0.2, -7.12%), Bank of America (BAC: 7.28, -0.28, -3.7%), Goldman Sachs (GS: 109.09, -2.737, -2.45%) and Wells Fargo (WFC: 15.77, -0.18, -1.13%).
Bank execs described the meeting as a positive exchange of ideas and an effort to work together.
“The goal here is to work together and get this economy going again,” Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf told reporters following the meeting.
The meeting came as a populist outrage has hit a fevered pitch in Washington amid public outcry about the way bailout funds have been used. At the same time, the White House needs the private sector to jump on board its public/private partnership aimed at ridding up to $1 trillion of banks’ toxic assets, which are at the heart of the credit crisis.
On the boards for the week:
Led by sinking energy stocks, the markets took a tumble Friday afternoon even as Wall Street appears poised to post its first three-week win streak in months.
As of 1:42 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 149.34 points, or 1.93%, to 7766.86, the S&P 500 lost 15.61 points, or 1.87%, to 816.98 and the Nasdaq Composite sank 36.31 points, or 2.29%, to 1550.64. The consumer-friendly FOX 50 fell 10.63 points, or 1.71%, to 612.25.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We came out of an extremely oversold position. But anyone who thinks we are out of the woods is getting way ahead of the curve,” NYSE trader Ted Weisberg of Seaport Securities told FOX Business.
Even with Friday’s losses, the Dow is still on pace to end the week up nearly 500 points, its first three-week win streak since early May.
IBM (IBM: 93.2846, -5.4304, -5.5%), Citigroup (C: 2.61, -0.2, -7.12%) and American Express (AXP: 14.25, -0.9, -5.94%) led the way down on the Dow in recent trading. There were only a handful of positive blue-chip stocks, including General Motors (GM: 3.62, 0.23, 6.78%) and Bank of America (BAC: 7.28, -0.28, -3.7%).
The Nasdaq Composite, which turned positive year-to-date on Thursday, tumbled even further than the Dow. Tech giants like Amazon.com (AMZN: 70.66, -3.03, -4.11%) and Microsoft (MSFT: 18.19, -0.64, -3.4%) were weak.
The disappointing start on Wall Street comes as the markets are in the midst of one of their hottest streaks ever but still off by nearly half from their pre-crisis levels. Thanks to a triple-digit jump on Thursday, the Dow is up 21% over the past 13 trading days, the fastest 20% plus rise since July 1938.
Meanwhile, the S&P has surged 13.3% in March, on pace for its best one-month gain since 1974 and second-best month on record, according to Miller Tabak. The bullishness was fueled by a series of new government rescue actions, a surge in financial stocks and rare glimmers of hope about the battered economy.
The energy sector was one of the biggest drags on the market, diving more than 2%. Stocks like Schlumberger (SLB: 43.25, -2.15, -4.74%) and Hess (HES: 58.43, -5.14, -8.09%) plunged even further as crude sank $2.36 per barrel to $51.98 amid profit-taking and a stronger dollar. Gold’s two-day win streak was in jeopardy as the metal slumped $16.70 per ounce to $924.20.
The markets had little reaction to Friday’s government data, which showed personal spending increased 0.2% in February, the second-straight monthly increase. The rise in spending, which was mostly expected, comes even as personal incomes tumbled 0.2% in February due to mass layoffs.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey failed to stimulate the markets even after the group said its index improved to a 57.3 reading in March from 56.3 in February.
And finally, a look at the Global Markets (minus the Brazil Nut’s analysis):
European indexes joined the slump in the U.S. as London’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.67% to 3898.85, Germany’s DAX tumbled 1.31% to to 4203.55 and France’s CAC 40 sank 1.78% to 2840.62.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.11% to 8626.97 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.07% to 14119.50. China’s Shanghai Composite rallied 0.54% to 2374.44.