Stocks finished lower Thursday. The Dow lost 69 points to 25,916 while the S&P 500 was down 7 points to 2,784. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 21 points to 7,532.
The S&P 500 declined for a fourth-consecutive session despite a positive update on the U.S. economy. A report this morning showed the U.S. GDP grew at a 2.6% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, beating expectations of a 2.2% increase. For the full year 2018, U.S. GDP expanded at a robust 3.1% clip. The strong domestic report was contrasted by an update from China which showed manufacturing activity declined to the slowest pace in three years in February.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished lower with Materials and Energy stocks lagging. In earnings, HP Inc. tumbled 17.3% to $19.73 after missing Wall Street revenue expectations. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev added 4.6% to $78.16 as the world’s largest brewer topped analyst earnings projections. In other corporate news, a key shareholder of Bristol-Myers Squibb announced plan to oppose the company’s $74 billion takeover of Celgene, which retreated 8.6% to $83.12 on the session.
Breadth was negative on issues by 3:2 on the NYSE and by 4:3 on the Nasdaq. NYSE Composite volume was 4.3 billion shares.
Treasury yields rose after the GDP update, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note climbing three basis point to 2.72%. In commodities, WTI crude added 0.5% to $57.22/barrel. COMEX gold lost 0.4% to $1,315.40/ounce amid a stronger dollar.
Despite Thursday’s pullback, the major averages finished the session with their best two-month start to a year since 1987. The S&P 500 added 3% in February, while the Dow climbed 3.7% and the Nasdaq rallied 3.4%.