By DONALD H. GOLD, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Stocks took a drubbing Friday after weak earnings reports from Microsoft (MSFT) (which fell 3%), General Electric (GE) (off 3%) and McDonald’s (MCD) (off 4%) rattled investors.
The Nasdaq dropped 2.2%, the S&P 500 lost 1.7% and the Dow Jones industrial average sank 1.9%. Volume, which saw a broad boost with the expiration of options, increased 8% on the Nasdaq and 26% on the NYSE, according to preliminary data.
Google (GOOG) reversed lower and moved from a 2% gain to a 2% loss. Volume swelled to four times its norm. This poor action follows Thursday’s debacle, when the stock dived 8% on a disappointing quarterly report. Google ended Friday 12% off its record high of 774.38, hit two weeks ago.
Biomedical stocks were among the hardest hit. Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) lost 3% in double its average daily volume after the company late Thursday said Q3 profit jumped a better-than-expected 67% from a year ago. However, sales rose just 18%, below expectations. The stock is now below its 50-day line.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) also lost support at its 50-day line, sinking 5% in double its average daily volume. The drugmaker fell below its 110.06 buy point.
Apple (AAPL) also fell below its buy point, a 619.97 entry, after losing 4% in heavy volume. The stock has lost support at its 50-day line, and its Accumulation-Distribution Rating has plunged to a lowly D.
Big losses were common. Panera Bread (PNRA) fell 5% in heavy volume and sliced its 50-day line — as well as its 164.10 buy point from a cup-with-handle. Irish drugmaker Alkermes (ALKS) gapped down and lost 3% in average trade.
Argentina-based online auction platform MercadoLibre (MELI) sank 4%.
Highflying March IPO Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) fell 3% in weak volume. So did Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) and 3D printer maker Stratasys (SSYS).
Among the few gainers was furniture retailer Ethan Allen (ETH), which soared 5% in frantic trade after a better-than-expected earnings report for the fiscal first quarter that ended in September. The stock has rocketed 32% this week.