The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are falling for the third straight session on Wednesday, turning lower following gains earlier in the day as data released today showed that the U.S. services sector slowed to its weakest pace in two years.
Non-manufacturing activity dropped to 53.5 last month from 55.8 in December, its lowest mark since February 2014. Investors are worried that weakness in other parts of the U.S. economy may be infecting sectors that were previously thought to be strong.
The market will be looking ahead to Friday for the release of the U.S. comprehensive employment report for January.
Bank of America (BAC) is leading the markets down, falling 4.23% on extremely heavy volume today. The company's stock has fallen 24.7% year to date amid a wider sector decline as investors express concern over the default risk of struggling energy companies.
Chipotle (CMG) also continues to fall today despite the company topping analysts' bottom-line quarterly expectations, after the company announced that it was served with a subpoena by officials in California broadening the scope of a previously announced investigation into its food safety practices.
(Read Real Money chartist Bruce Kamich's take on Chipotle.)
Yahoo! (YHOO) is also falling in trading today after the company announced plans to slash 1,700 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring plan.
Other companies in the tech sector are also declining including Facebook (FB), a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio, and Microsoft (MSFT), both of which had been gaining in previous sessions this week.
On the positive side of the market, 3D Systems (DDD) is climbing, reversing previous losses.
(Read about 3D's "stressed out" financials.)
Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) is also reversing recent declines, spiking 10% in afternoon trading on even volume despite being downgraded by analysts at Argus earlier today.
(Read about Freeport's "stressed out" financials.)
Finally, Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple (AAPL) seems to be snapping out of its post-earnings malaise today, climbing 0.42% and trading higher for the first session all week. The company's stock has fallen since it reported iPhone sales that didn't meet market expectations in its quarterly results last week