Stocks finished lower Wednesday. The Dow fell 133 points to 25,673 while the S&P 500 lost 18 points to 2,771. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 70 points to 7,505.
The major averages extended losses for a third consecutive day as investors digested economic data updates. A report showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened to a 10-year high of $59.8 billion in December, capping a record annual deficit in 2018. An employment gauge from ADP revealed private payrolls increased 183,000 in February, below expectations of a 190,000 gain. In central bank news, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book showed most of the Fed districts expanded at a “slight-to-moderate” pace.
Nine of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory with the Healthcare and Energy groups leading the decline. Shares of Pfizer lost 2.4% to $41.86 while Exxon Mobil slipped 1.1% to $79.28. Materials stocks outperformed with chemical maker LyondellBasell adding 5.1% to $89.26. In corporate news, shares of General Electric extended its recent decline, falling 7.9% to $9.11 after comments from a key analyst. On the earnings front, Brown-Forman lost 5.1% to $48.85 after the alcoholic spirit distributor missed analyst revenue projections.
Breadth was negative on issues by 5:1 on both the NYSE and the NASDAQ. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.7 billion shares.
Treasuries strengthened, with the yield on the 10-year note down three basis point to 2.69%. In commodities, NYMEX WTI crude fell 0.6% to $56.23/barrel. COMEX gold added 0.3% to $1,288.40/ounce despite a stronger dollar.