Biotechnology stocks were in focus today as they led a broad-based selloff that engulfed stocks, bonds, and the US dollar.
The NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB) fell 4.1% today as traders continued to take profits following the Friday morning high at $375.50. At that peak, IBB was up 24% on the year.
The S&P SPDR Biotech ETF (XBI), which has a heavy weighting in small cap biotech stocks, took an even worse beating with a 5.4% decline to $215.23.
The S&P 500 fell 1.5% to 2061.05, while the NASDAQ Composite and Russell 2000 posted 2.4% and 2.3% losses, respectively.
The US dollar continued its recent downswing, which pushed up commodities prices, with oil and gold extending their recent rallies.
The weakening dollar played a role in the recent market bounce, but it obviously failed to do so today.
And despite the overall risk-off feel to the action today, US Treasuries did not rally, with the 10-year yield ticking up 2.2 bps to 1.92%.
Heinz, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) and private equity firm 3G Capital Partners, announced a $40 billion acquisition of staples giant Kraft (KRFT). Shares of Kraft were up 35.6% to $83.15 today, almost good enough to push the consumer staples sector into the green.
US economic data continued its downswing as durable goods orders missed expectations with a 1.4% decline in February. Economists were looking for a 0.2% increase. Excluding transportation orders, orders fell 0.4%, which was also below consensus.
The Citi Economic Surprise Index, which measures economic data surprises relative to consensus expectations, remains at multi-year lows.
In a speech early this morning in London, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans reiterated the Fed's dovish stance, remarking that the costs of raising rates too soon outweigh the risks of raising them too late. Evans favors waiting until 2016 to increase rates.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Weekly jobless claims will be reported at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the Markit US PMI at 9:45 a.m. and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11:00 a.m.
Also, natural gas inventories will be released at 10:30 a.m.
Accenture (ACN) will report earnings before the open, which could give investors some insights on technology spending trends and the US dollar's impact on earnings.