After Market: Stocks Take a Breather Ahead of Jobs Report


Investors hit the pause button on the stock market rally, with the Dow industrials just shy of record territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost less than a point. Just seconds before the closing bell it was in record territory, but couldn’t hold there. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 38 and the Standard Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) fell 2 points, after closing at all-time highs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Investors continued to rotate out of some of the once-hot new tech stocks. (AMZN) lost more than 2 percent. Analysts aren’t very impressed with the Fire TV service announced Wednesday.

Facebook (FB) fell 5 percent, Netflix (NFLX) lost 2 percent and Priceline (PCLN) gave up 2 percent.

Yelp (YELP) dropped 6.5 percent, the second big drop in a row.

The Federal Trade Commission has received 2,000 complaints — some of them reportedly alleging the company used extortion to win advertising. Yelp shares have lost a quarter of their value in the past month.

But Google (GOOG) bucked the downtrend. It edged higher as its 2-for-1 stock split took effect and a second class of shares began trading. Google now appears in the SP 500 twice, giving the index 500 companies, but 501 stocks.

Some of the “old tech” stocks attracted buyers. Intel (INTC) rose 2 percent after a Piper Jaffray (PJC) upgrade to “overweight.”

Biotechs had another rough day. A closely watched biotech ETF fell more than 3 percent. Biogen Idec (BIIB), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) and Celgene (CELG) all stumbled.

Elsewhere, Anadarko Petroleum (APC) jumped 14.5 percent after reaching a $5 billion settlement of an environment cleanup dispute.

Barnes Noble (BKS) tumbled 13.5 percent. Liberty Media (LMCA) is slashing its stake from 16.7 percent to less than 2 percent. Liberty’s CEO is also resigning his seat on the book retailer’s board — an apparent vote of no confidence.

E-Trade Financial (ETFC) fell 6.5 percent. A Sterne Agee analyst expressed concern about the discount broker’s earnings.

Liquidity Services (LQDT) dropped sharply for a second straight day after withdrawing a bid for surplus Pentagon goods.

What to Watch Friday:

  • The Labor Department releases employment data for March at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • CarMax (KMX) reports quarter corporate earnings before financial markets open in New York.

Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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