Stock Market Today – Baker Hughes (BHI) Sears Holdings (SHLD) First Solar (FSLR) and Nabors (NBR) Report

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(Best Syndication News) Stock markets are opening higher in Asia Thursday after a down-day on Wall Street Wednesday (see stock charts below). Real estate worries weighed on the U.S. markets; however, existing homes sales were higher than expected.

Some stock indexes are higher in Asia despite a preliminary report that the Chinese economy may contract in March. That will be the fifth straight month of declines. The Hang Seng (Hong Kong) and Nikkei 225 (Japan) indexes are higher while the Shanghai (China) index slipped early.

Housing starts were lower than expected, down to 698,000 in February from 706,000 in January (revised upward from 699K), according to the Department of Commerce. There were more building permits issued; however the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that loan volume last week declined 7.4 percent.

The real estate news was a mixed bag. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that there were 4.59 million existing home sales in February, down from 4.63 million in January (revised from 4.57 million). This was above the briefing forecast of 4.45 million.

The negative real estate news put downward pressure on the DJIA and the S&P 500. Tech stocks buoyed the NASDAQ higher.

Widely-Held Stocks

Only 209 of the 487 stocks in our widely held index were higher (see the widely-held stock chart below). Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI) fell more than any other constituent.

The share price of BHI fell nearly six percent on volume 240 percent above average. The oilfield services company has been lower three straight days and is down 5.97 percent over the last five business days.

A frail profit forecast pushed BHI lower despite the high price of oil. In the after-hours BHI advanced 16 cents to $45.20. There was a bid of $45.13 and an ask of $45.38 on 100 shares.

Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) dropped more than four percent during the trading session. The volume was below average despite heavy losses and the need for cost-cutting measures. In the after-hours SHLD fell another nine cents to $76.60.

The S&P consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors hit 100-day highs today (see the sector charts below). First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), a technology sector constituent, fell more than four percent while the sector as a whole slipped only 0.07 percent.

FSLR also fell more than four percent on Tuesday after falling 1.4 percent on Monday. The solar energy industry has suffered as panel prices began to fall. In the after hours FSLR fell another penny to $26.32.

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE:NBR) was another laggard, falling more than three percent after cutting their first quarter outlook. The volume was light as the company said that changing market conditions have affected their oil services product line.

By: Tom Madison
Business Reporter

Widely-Held Index:


Wednesday One Day One Day 1-Week
3/21/2012 Name Change % %
45.04 Baker Hughes Incorporate... -2.78 -5.81% -5.97% 1
76.69 Sears Holdings Corporati... -3.31 -4.14% -4.09% 2
26.33 First Solar, Inc. -1.13 -4.12% -2.84% 3
3.84 MEMC Electronic... -0.16 -4.00% -2.29% 4
19.41 Nabors Industries Ltd. -0.65 -3.24% -3.29% 5
39.2 Cintas Corporation -1.27 -3.14% -0.76% 6
34.34 Rowan Companies, Inc. -1.04 -2.94% -4.43% 7
49.65 FMC Technologies, Inc. -1.37 -2.69% -2.76% 8
51.31 Cameron International... -1.36 -2.58% -2.86% 9
6.48 RadioShack Corporation -0.16 -2.41% -2.26% 10
           
           
9.55 Janus Capital Group Inc. 0.21 2.25% 4.60% 477
3.95 Tellabs, Inc. 0.10 2.60% 1.80% 478
52.03 Red Hat, Inc. 1.34 2.64% 3.38% 479
51.29 SanDisk Corporation 1.33 2.66% 3.26% 480
16.92 NRG Energy Inc 0.44 2.67% 1.93% 481
24.67 GameStop Corp. 0.66 2.75% 4.98% 482
27.14 Best Buy Co., Inc. 0.85 3.23% 13.46% 483
13.61 SAIC, Inc. 0.46 3.50% 6.00% 484
14.1 Masco Corporation 0.49 3.60% 9.13% 485
46.98 Expeditors Intl. of... 1.69 3.73% 6.36% 486
63.69 Watson Pharmaceuticals... 5.16 8.82% 7.57% 487

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