Stock Market Rally Stalls as Growth Concerns Ramp Up

Retail, weed stocks were in the headlines this week

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:52 PM
Updated on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:40 PM

The stock market's strong February finish was quickly put in the rearview mirror this week, as global growth concerns sent traders heading for the exits as the bull market hit a notable milestone. Fears of a slowing world economy were only exacerbated ahead of Friday's open after China unveiled dismal February export data and the U.S. posted its slimmest monthly jobs gain in over a year. Not only did the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all close lower for five straight sessions -- the first time this has happened since 2016, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, but the S&P surrendered its short-lived foothold atop the key 2,800 level, and the Nasdaq snapped its longest weekly win streak since the dot-com era.

Retail Earnings Roll In

Retail earnings hit Wall Street hard. While Urban Outfitters (URBN) flashed a sell signal on the charts ahead of its quarterly results, Target (TGT) popped after its fourth-quarter beat-and-raise. Other names moving on earnings were Kroger (KR), American Eagle (AEO), and Big Lots (LOTS).

It wasn't just earnings that brought consumer discretionary stocks into the limelight, though. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) was downgraded at Barclays, while Revlon earned a note of caution from Jefferies.

This Weed Stock Has Cheap Options

Analysts turned their attention to the cannabis sector this week -- sparking volatile trading for a number of stocks. While Cowen tapped Aurora Cannabis (ACB) as its top pick among weed stocks, Jefferies set low expectations for Tilray (TLRY) stock after the company's expansion news. Those looking to play the hot sector may consider this stock that has cheap options right now.

Needham Called This FAANG Stock a "Buy"

FAANG stocks were on the radar, too. While Amazon (AMZN) buzz gave a boost to Zebra Technologies stock, Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren suggested breaking up the big-cap e-tailer. And while Netflix (NFLX) flashed a buy signal, Alphabet (GOOGL) scored a "buy" rating at Needham.

Inflation Data, Brexit Vote on Tap

Next week will be a busy one on the economic front. Retailers will continue to be in focus following the release of retail sales data, while a pair of inflation updates are also due. Traders will also be watching for a key Brexit vote on Tuesday, March 12, as well as any additional U.S.-China trade headlines.


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