The Barron’s 400 Index (B400) fell for a second day Thursday, losing 7.92 points and 1.74 percent to 447.40, following U.S. stocks lower as the broad market eyeballed improving economic data that fed fears of an end to Federal Reserve stimulus and disappointing forecasts from B400 components Wal-Mart Stores and Cisco.
All 10 U.S. industry stock sectors finished lower, with the consumer and technology sectors that are among the more prominent fixtures of the B400 among the heavier decliners.
The highest percentage losers in the B400 were Smith & Wesson, Cray Inc., Cisco and Wal-Mart.
Smith & Wesson (SWHC) led gun makers lower, diving 7.88 percent to $11.22 after an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets suggested growth in the industry has peaked.
Computer processor Cray Inc. (CRAY) fell 7.38 percent to $25.72, joining Cisco in a swoon that struck technology stocks after bellwether Cisco cut its outlook. Cisco (CSCO) dropped 7.17 percent to $24.99. Cisco was the move active stock on the major exchanges, trading 121.7 million shares.
Wal-Mart (WMT) helped the broad consumer discretionary segment move lower, losing 2.60 percent to $74.41. The company said higher federal payroll taxes are harming results.
Other major indexes also tumbled sharply, with the Dow Industrials losing 225 points to 15,113, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropping 63 points to 3,606 and the S&P 500 losing 24 points to 1,661.
Year to date, the B400 is up 22.2 percent, ahead of some other major indexes. The B400 is still within shouting distance of its 52-week high of 462.16, versus its 52-week low of 336.35.
Leading gainers in the B400 Thursday were D.R. Horton, Lennar and TASER International.
Homebuilders bucked the losing market trend, as continued optimism about a recovery in the housing market attracted buyers on a down day. D.R. Horton (DHI) gained 5.69 percent to $19.12 and Lennar (LEN) shot up 5.12 percent to $33.28.
Security equipment maker TASER (TASR) gained 4.93 percent to $9.80, rising briskly for a second day as the stock pressed against technical overhead resistance on heavier volume.
Government reports showed consumer prices rose in July and new jobless claims fell last week, a welcome sign that nonetheless added concern that the Fed will be encouraged to reduce its current ultra-loose monetary policy sooner rather than later.