After Market: Fed Eyes Higher Interest Rates, Investors Head for the Door


It was a down day on Wall Street Wednesday as the Nasdaq snapped its longest winning streak in eight months.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sparked the best one-day gain this year when she testified on Capitol Hill. But the Fed minutes of its most recent meeting weren't as well received, as policymakers discussed raising interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gave back early gains to end 90 points lower, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) fell 12, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 35 points, ending that 8-day winning streak.

Board Of Governors Of Federal Reserve System Hold Open Meeting
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Alex Wong/Getty Images

Many of the big name Nasdaq stocks retreated. Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) both fell about 1.5 percent. Netflix (NFLX) fell 2 percent. Its download speed in primetime slowed significantly last month, apparently because of a dispute it's having with Verizon (VZ). Twitter (TWTR) lost nearly 5 percent but Facebook (FB) gained another 1 percent.

Energy stocks were strong as crude oil and natural gas prices continued to rally. Natural gas prices are at their highest level since late 2008. Chevron (CVX) rose nearly 1 percent. The oil-drilling company Nabors Industries (NBR) jumped 13 percent after posting strong earnings.

Elsewhere, the jewelry chain Zale (ZLC) soared 40 percent after agreeing to be acquired by rival Signet Jewelers (SIG), which jumped 18 percent. Eli Lilly (LLY) gained 5 percent. It reported higher survival rates in a key clinical trial of its lung cancer treatment.

But U.S. Steel (X) dropped 7 percent as the Commerce Department said it will not impose tariffs on steel rods made in South Korea.

GPS maker Garmin (GRMN) gained 9 percent on better-than-expected numbers. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Columbia Sportswear (COLM) rose 7 percent. It reports strong sales momentum. Not surprisingly, its outerwear is in demand this winter. And Panera Bread (PNRA) gained 3.5 percent.

But the restaurant chain Potbelly (PBPB) had some indigestion, losing 9 percent after posting a loss. The stock doubled in price on its first day of trading last October, but since then, it has lost a third of its value.

Herbalife (HLF), the controversial nutrition supplement company, fell 4 percent despite an upbeat earnings report.

What to Watch Thursday:

  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and January's Consumer Price Index.

  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases its latest survey of mortgage rates, and the Conference Board releases leading indicators for January.

These major companies are schedules to release quarterly financial statements:

  • Express-Scripts Holding (ESRX)

  • Groupon (GRPN)

  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)

  • Hormel Foods (HRL)

  • Imax (IMAX)

  • Intuit (INTU)

  • Newmont Mining (NEM)

  • Nordstrom (JWN)

  • (PCLN)

  • Walmart Stores (WMT)

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

Originally published