The stock market fell sharply Friday, dragged down by disappointing quarterly results from Amazon and Ford Motor. Escalating tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine also weighed on the market.
Worried investors sold their risky assets and moved into the traditional havens: bonds, gold and stocks that pay high dividends such as utilities.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1863.40. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,361.46, and the Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4075.56.
Friday’s sell-off was enough to push the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq into the red for the week.
Technology stocks, which have been volatile for the past two months, were once again a hotbed of selling.
Amazon, the world’s largest online store, sank $33.32, or 10 percent, to $303.83. Amazon reported late Thursday an increase in first-quarter profit, but the company also said that spending on investments will probably lead to an operating loss in the second quarter. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
The retail giant dragged the rest of the technology sector lower, making it one of the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500. Netflix fell more than 6 percent, Priceline lost 5 percent, Facebook fell 5 percent and Twitter lost more than 7 percent.
Investors have had little patience for companies missing their forecasts this quarter, said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
Ford fell 54 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $15.78 after the company reported earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Worldwide sales rose 6 percent in the first quarter, but the automotive company reported a sales drop in North America that cut into the firm’s profit. General Motors fell 45 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $33.72.
— Associated Press
The U.S. government on Friday filed criminal and civil charges accusing a former executive of insider trading in advance of eBay’s purchase of his e-commerce company.
The case against Christopher Saridakis, 45, is also notable because it marks the first time the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a so-called non-prosecution agreement with an individual, an unnamed trader who it said provided “early, extraordinary and unconditional” cooperation.
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia charged Saridakis, who led the marketing solutions division of GSI Commerce, in a so-called criminal information with securities fraud for leaking material nonpublic information in March 2011 about eBay’s plan to buy his company.
Investigators said the resident of Greenville, Del., encouraged two relatives and two friends to trade on his tips, leading to more than $300,000 of illegal profits.
GSI shares rose nearly 51 percent March 28, 2011, after eBay, the online retailer, announced its $1.96 billion purchase of the King of Prussia, Pa.-based company.
The SEC said Saridakis agreed to pay $664,822 and accept an officer and director ban to settle its charges. The cooperating defendant and five other people agreed to pay more than $490,000 to settle related SEC charges. Three of these defendants got lessened penalties because they cooperated with the regulator.
● U.S. consumer sentiment rose in April to a nine-month high as views on current and near-term conditions surged, a survey released Friday showed. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final April reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 84.1, beating an expectation of 83.0 in a Reuters survey and up from 80.0 the month before. The preliminary April reading was 82.6. The headline number was the highest reading since July 2013. “Perhaps the more important question is whether consumer confidence will show greater resistance to the backslides that have repeatedly occurred in the past few years,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. “Resilience is dependent on positive long term economic expectations.”
● ● A U.S. appeals court will consider Apple’s request to delay a July trial to determine how much the iPad maker must pay in damages to customers in more than two dozen states over e-book price fixing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said that a three-judge panel will hear Apple’s argument on why the trial should be put on hold while it appeals a judge’s ruling that it conspired with five publishers to raise e-book prices. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York had denied Apple’s request to postpone the trial on Wednesday. Cote ruled last year after a nonjury trial that Apple had conspired with the publishers in an effort to impede competitors such as Amazon.
● A federal judge on Friday approved the November settlement between the U.S. government and the airlines that merged to form American Airlines Group, the world’s biggest carrier. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the settlement, which required American to sell takeoff and landing rights at airports in the New York and Washington areas and airport gates in five other cities, was “within the reaches of the public interest.” She said a hearing was not needed.
● A Delaware judge has ruled that Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers will be sold at an ascending-bid auction open only to insiders. The decision Friday is a victory for majority owner George Norcross in his fight for control of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Norcross and fellow investor Lewis Katz have been locked in a fight over how to run the company, prompting the latest sale. Both men have pledged to open with a starting bid of $77 million. The local newspaper guild had hoped to bid with backing from an investor, but said this week it would not match that opening bid.
— From news services