The US stock market has lost a significant percentage of its value this week. stocks declined sharply for a second session Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite tallying its third weekly drop, after JPMorgan Chase posted disappointing earnings and Gap reported a decline in sales.
JPMorgan Chase led declines on the S&P 500 after the bank posted first-quarter earnings below expectations. Gap also fell after the retailer reported a drop in same-store sales, with Janney Capital Markets downgrading its shares to neutral from buy. Wells Fargo, however, reported a better-than-projected rise in first-quarter net profit as the mortgage lender set aside less money to cover bad loans.
After a 155-point dive, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 143.47 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,026.75, with JPMorgan leading blue-chip losses that included 25 of 30 components. The Dow fell 2.4 percent for the week, its first weekly drop in four.
Falling 2.7 percent from a week ago, the S&P 500 declined 17.39 points, or 1 percent, to 1,815.69, with consumer discretionary hardest hit.
Falling below 4,000 for the first time since early February, the Nasdaq shed 54.37 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,999.73, leaving the technology-laden index down 3.1 percent for the week, its worst weekly hit since June 2012 and its longest weekly loss streak since late 2012.
Experts say that the markets may be experiencing the beginnings of a correction but not a bear market. “So far it does not appear to be so much fundamental as a turn in sentiment,” said Russ Koesterich, BlackRock’s global chief investment strategist, who attributes the recent selloff in high-flying shares to “forced liquidation by hedge funds.”
“A lot of investors were long the momentum trade. All of last year’s big winners — biotech, Internet stocks, this is where you’ve seen the biggest reversal; that momentum trade has basically been broken,” he said.
“The losses in an absolute sense outside those sectors have been fairly modest,” Koesterich added.
On the surface, the stock losses seem to be minor, but is there a larger event on the horizon? In February, I posted an article about the similarity of recent stock activity to the crash of 1929. I wondered at the time if we might see a stock market event as we passed Passover and the first blood moon.
We may not see any significant drop in stocks in the coming week, but I believe we will see several types of events this week from stocks to earthquakes to civil unrest. Each of these events will be enough to draw our attention but not so severe that we should have our lives significantly interrupted.
We should understand that Passover is a time of grace and mercy. The Lord is calling on people to turn to Him, but most will not heed the warning. Let us choose the Lord and His ways.