The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business

March 27, 2014

Stocks give up an early gain; end lower

NEW YORK — Stocks gave up an early gain and turned lower in early afternoon trading. Facebook slumped, leading technology stocks lower after announcing its acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus.

KEEPING SCORE:

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,863 as of 3 p.m. It had been up as much as 10 points earlier. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,347. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell more than the other indexes, giving up 25 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,208.

CANDY CRUSHED:

King Digital Entertainment, the maker of the popular “Candy Crush Saga” game, slumped on its first day of trading. The company raised $499.5 million in an initial public offering. The stock fell $2.93, or 13 percent, to $19.57 by midday trading.

VIRTUAL REALITY:

Facebook fell $3.54, or 6 percent, to $61.03 after agreeing to pay $2 billion for virtual reality company Oculus. It’s Facebook’s second big acquisition in as many months. Last month the social network announced that it would pay $19 billion for messaging startup WhatsApp.

Investors may be questioning whether the returns on those investments will justify the big outlays, said Lawrence Creatura, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors.

SLOW GRIND:

The stock market is still going through a phase of consolidation after big gains in 2013, and the second half of this year will likely be stronger than the first, said David Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Global Asset Management.

Still, investors should expect lower returns this year. The S&P 500 is up 0.6 percent so far, after surging almost 30 percent last year. “Equity markets will be fine this year, but expectations have to come down a lot,” Lafferty said.

MANUFACTURING:

Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount since November, 2.2 percent. Demand for airplanes and automobiles drove the gains. Last month’s rise in durable goods orders followed a 1.3 percent drop in January.

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