The Barron’s 400 Index (B400) declined Wednesday, following the broader U.S. stock market lower as talk of Federal Reserve tapering as early as September created investor uncertainty and weighed on shares.
Consumer discretionary stocks were under pressure after B400 component Macy’s released weak earnings and cut its full-year outlook, creating doubt about the health of American consumer pocketbooks.
The highest percentage losers in the B400 were Trip Advisor, Myriad Genetics, Moody’s Corp. and Macy’s.
Trip Advisor (TRIP) sank 9.15 percent to $73.55 after Priceline reported reduced traffic from Trip Advisor. Myriad Genetics (MYGN) fell 6.98 percent to $28.14, receiving an analyst downgrade from Cowen despite beating earnings estimates. Moody’s Corp. (MCO) declined 5.07 percent to $65.50.
Macy’s (M) fell 4.47 percent to $46.33. The department store chain is regarded a consumer bellwether and contributed to the broader market fall.
Other major indexes also tumbled, with the Dow Industrials off 113 points to 15,338, the Nasdaq down 15 points to 3,669 and the S&P 500 down 9 points to 1,685.
Year to date, the B400 is up 24.4 percent, handily ahead of the other major indexes. The index is not far from its 52-week high of 462.16. The B400 has travelled a good distance – its 52-week low is 336.35.
The B400 has reflected the broad stock recovery of recent years. Its 3-year cumulative return is 76.5 percent, compared with the Dow at 50.0 percent, the S&P 500 at 57.0 percent and the Nasdaq at 69.5 percent.
Leading gainers in the B400 Wednesday were TASER International, Ebix Inc. and NVIDIA
Security equipment maker TASER (TASR) gained 7.36 percent to $9.34. The company announced release of a new body cam for police. Ebix (EBIX) rose 5.76 percent to $11.02 after releasing details about a partnership with Intel for a medical training program. Semiconductor NVIDIA (NVDA) gained 4.23 percent to $15.03.
Investors stayed preoccupied Wednesday on speculation about when the Fed will commence cutting back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. There is growing speculation among economists that the tapering could begin as early as September.