Amazon, Ford contribute to stock market tumble

April 25
WALL STREET
Stock market ends week with a tumble

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

INSIDER TRADING CASE
U.S. files charges against ex-official

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.

— Reuters

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