Slump In Financials Sends Wall St. Lower

Reuters

The Nasdaq Composite tumbled by 1.8 percent, ending at 5,794. Plus, oil prices continue to suffer, after domestic crude inventories rose more than expected last week, hitting a record high. Specifically, Trade-Alert notes a purchase of 24,308 January 2018 38-strike calls for 60 cents each, meaning this speculator is betting almost $1.5 million ($0.60 * 100 shares per contract * number of contracts) on the exchange-traded fund (ETF) topping the $38 mark in the months ahead. Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said "there aren't any catalysts to take the market higher, but there aren't any to derail it either". The S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 4 points to finish at 5,775.

Tuesday's selloff came as issues with the Republicans' health-care bill prompted investors to question Trump's ability to follow through on promises of tax reforms and $1 trillion in infrastructure spending (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-wants-to-fast-track-1-trillion-infrastructure-plan-2017-03-08), according to Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.

The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street's "fear gauge", jumped 10 per cent. Expectations of those tax cuts are a major reason for the 10-percent surge in the S&P 500 since Trump's election in November.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the financial index's 1.32 percent fall leading the decliners.

In economic news, existing home sales data for February showed a decline of 3.7 percent.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries were last up 9/32 in price to yield 2.441 percent, the lowest yield since March 1.




The Russell 2000 index of smallcap stocks was down 2.03 percent, on pace for its worst day since September.

The financial sector has been the best performing of the 11 major S&P sectors since Trump's election, surging almost 20 percent on his proposals to cut bank regulations and reduce taxes.

Shares of FedEx Corp dropped 3 per cent in extended trade after the delivery company's quarterly report disappointed investors.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 73 new highs and 66 new lows.

About 8.3 billion shares changed hands in USA exchanges, compared with the 7.1 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

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