Market Wrap: Stronger Dollar Sends Stocks Down a Bit

Richard Drew/APTraders gather Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange post for MasterCard.

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks ended lower for a second session on Wednesday as worries increased about the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and dollar strength further dampened the outlook for U.S. earnings.

The move followed the S&P 500's (^GSPC) biggest one-day decline in two months in the previous session, which surpassed a selloff of similar magnitude on Friday. The S&P 500 is now off 3.6 percent from its March 2 record closing high and is down 0.9 percent for the year so far.

Friday's stronger-than-expected jobs report is largely behind the recent rate jitters, solidifying views the Fed could raise rates as early as June. "It's all about rates. I think many are holding onto the view that if the Fed raises rates, stocks stop in their tracks and reverse, and the bull market ends," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist, Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 27.55 points, or 0.16 percent, to 17,635.39, the S&P 500 lost 3.92 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,040.24 and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) dropped 9.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,849.94.

Avian Flu Affects Tyson, Pilgrims Pride

The rate concerns have helped push up the dollar, as well, which has added to worries the currency will continue to weigh on U.S. multinationals' earnings.

"The big story is the dollar, and it continues to strengthen. That is a double-edged kind of development in that it will lead to more investor interest in the United States, but on the other hand it hampers the ability of U.S. multinationals to compete overseas," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.

Shares of Tyson Foods (TSN) were down 5.6 percent at $37.55 and Pilgrims Pride (PPC) dropped 4.4 percent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday confirmed the discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Arkansas.

What to watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for February, and the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, and import and export prices for February.
  • At 10 a.m.; the Commerce Department releases business inventories for January, and Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.
Earnings Season
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
  • Aeropostale (ARO)
  • Dollar General (DG)
  • El Pollo Loco (LOCO)
  • FTD Cos. (FTD)
  • Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV)
  • Ulta Salon (ULTA)
  • Vail Resorts (MTN)
  • Zumiez (ZUMZ)
The 6 Best Things to Buy in March
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Market Wrap: Stronger Dollar Sends Stocks Down a Bit
The travel industry sees a decline in travel throughout late winter, including March. That's often because people don't have a reason, or the time, to get away. If you can, though, take advantage of the low prices, which are found across the board. Cash in those airline miles, pick up that new luggage you've been meaning to buy and plan for a weekend getaway that'll give you some reprieve from the humdrum of your current life. Prices are lower on car rentals, airfare, lodging, travel essentials and more.
Now that the lovey-doviest day of the year has passed -- and there's no major jewelry-buying holiday in sight until Mother's Day -- retailers are eager to move their bling. Keep an eye out for in-store and online specials at your favorite retailers during all of March and even into April. Also, don't be afraid to put your haggling hat on and negotiate lower prices, even if there isn't a sale going on. Because of the pressure to sell during this slow time, you'll have an easier time negotiating with desperate sales reps.
March is National Reading Month, so expect an uptick in sales and specials throughout the month as retailers celebrate. Also be sure to shop clearance sections at your local bookstore and cash in on those coupons and online discount codes. For even cheaper books, try try thrift stores and websites such as
There's a noticeable shift in scents at the change of every season. For example, winter calls for richer, heavier personal fragrances, and candles and other home fragrances are typically very wintry (cranberries, birch trees, etc.) during the cold months. Perfumers and home fragrance retailers are putting out new scents right now, which means last season's goods are hitting the clearance bin. Stock up for now and later.
As we get closer to warmer weather, people pull up their sleeves and prepare for spring cleaning and organizing. So this is the time for new products (even if it's just a slight change in formulation or scent),and introductory rates to get you to try them. Keep your eyes peeled and your home fresh.
March is also National Frozen Food Month, so expect coupons and specials from frozen-food firms. To keep track of specials and to find coupons, follow these companies on social media, get e-mail blasts from them and pick up your Sunday paper. Score better deals when you stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon or special.
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