Groupon Inc. slumped 22 percent, the most in a year, after the daily deals website gave a profit forecast that trailed estimates. Priceline.com Inc. and Intuit Inc. gained at least 2.5 percent after posting better-than-estimated results. Seagate Technology PLC advanced 1.5 percent after RBC Capital Markets LLC raised its rating on the shares.
The S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent to 1,836.25 at 4 p.m. in New York after earlier gaining as much as 0.4 percent. The equities benchmark retreated 0.1 percent over the past four sessions following two straight weekly advances. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 29.93 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,103.30. More than 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 2.4 percent above the three-month average.
The S&P 500 slumped as much as 5.8 percent after reaching a record on Jan. 15 as concern about the Fed’s reductions in stimulus fueled a rout in emerging markets. The benchmark gauge has nearly returned from a Feb. 3 low.
Equities erased gains that sent the S&P 500 up as much as 0.4 percent today as Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said it’s hard to argue that further expansion of central bank balance sheet has had “much efficacy.”
“This is why I’ve been such a strong proponent of dialing back our large-scale asset purchases and will continue advocating that we do so,” Fisher said in text of speech in Austin, Texas.He is a voting fed member this year.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who doesn’t vote on the Federal Open Market Committee this year, said the central bank is on target to continue scaling back stimulus, adding that soft economic data in 2014 is probably due to bad weather.
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes dropped in January to the lowest level in more than a year as harsh winter weather combined with a lack of supply, tight credit and declining affordability slowed demand. Purchases decreased 5.1 percent to a 4.62 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. The forecast projected said sales would drop to a 4.67 million rate.
Investors have dismissed worse-than-forecast U.S. economic data over the past two weeks, speculating that the coldest January since 2001 explains the weakness in reports such as housing and hiring.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen last week said the economy has strengthened enough to withstand continued cuts to monetary stimulus, adding that only a notable change in the outlook for the economy would prompt the central bank to slow the pace of tapering.
Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Sydney this weekend will seek to minimize volatility as the Fed tapers. The group also aims to find new ways to support global growth in the next five years while maintaining fiscal sustainability, according to a draft document. The G-20 will release the communique, which may yet change, on Feb. 23.
Earnings went over estimates at about 74 percent of the 433 companies in the S&P 500 that have posted results so far this season, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts estimate earnings for S&P 500 companies grew by 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a survey of analysts.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), the gauge of S&P 500 options known as the VIX, slipped 0.7 percent to 14.68 today, falling for a second day.
Six out of the 10 main industries in the S&P 500 fell today, as phone companies lost 1.4 percent as a group to pace declines.
Priceline gained 2.5 percent to $1,315.65. The largest U.S. online travel agent reported profit for the fourth quarter that topped analysts’ estimates as Europe’s economic recovery lifts hotel bookings.
Groupon tumbled 22 percent to $8.03 after saying higher expenses for acquisitions and marketing will hurt profit. It projected first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $20 million to $40 million. Analysts had estimated Ebitda of $96 million.