Stocks end slightly lower on China growth worries

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm •  Published: March 10, 2014
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"In general, I think the market will move past the poor China export numbers fairly quickly," said James Liu, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds. "There's still a lot of fundamental support for the S&P at this particular range."

Chalupnik also anticipates Monday's decline isn't telling of the market's trajectory for the week ahead, barring more fallout from Russia's deployment of troops in Ukraine.

"My guess is the market moves ever so slightly higher this week," he said. "The trend is still up. We really haven't seen anything to break that trend."

Monday marked the fifth anniversary of the current bull market in stocks. The S&P 500 index bottomed out on March 9, 2009, and is up about 177 percent since then. The run-up over the past five years has been helped by stimulus from the Federal Reserve, record corporate profits, the economic recovery and companies repurchasing their own stock.

This is a light week for market-moving economic data and corporate earnings. But investors will be watching the latest data on retail sales, due out Thursday, and a gauge of consumer confidence due out Friday.

"Those two sets of numbers will really tell us where the consumer is and whether or not the consumer will head out and spend when the weather warms up," Liu said.

Among the stocks bucking the slight downward turn Monday was Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

The company climbed the most of any stock in the S&P 500 index, vaulting $11.95, or 7.1 percent, to $180. The company raised its 2014 earnings forecast, saying the national health agency of France will reimburse it for past sales of its drug Soliris.

Chiquita was another gainer. It agreed to combine with Dublin-based Fyffes to become the world's top banana company. The stock-for-stock transaction announced Monday creates a global banana and fresh produce company with $4.6 billion in annual revenue. Chiquita rose $1.16, or 10.7 percent, to $12.

Southwest Airlines' stock touched a 52-week high of $23.67 early in the day before ending up 50 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $23.60. The carrier got a boost after it reported that passengers are flying more miles, a trend that helped send a key revenue figure higher last month.