US stocks dropped Friday, but ended February with their largest monthly percentage gains in more than two years.
Apple Inc, one of the best performers of the month, and Facebook Inc. dropped more than 1.5% leading to declines among technology shares of J.C. Penney Co. that dropped 6.8% after giving a lower-than-estimated annual forecast. Gap Inc. climbed 3.1% after the profit beat estimates. Bank of America Corp dropped 1.4% after UBS Group AG downgraded with shares.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 5.64%, its best month since Jan 2013, while the S&P 500 climbed 5.49%, the best month from October 2011. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 7.08%, positioning it within striking distance of 5000, a level it last hit around 15 years ago.
Tony Scherrer, director of research at Smead Capital Management, “There’s more applauding going on for US stocks and there’s more excitement building up around the market.”
He added, “Some of the young tech, the conceptual tech kind of stocks, we think they’re getting rewarded with too high of multiples, and that there’s too much excitement around them.”
According to Bloomberg, the S&P 500 dropped 0.3% to 2.104.50 in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.5% or 81.72 points to 18,132.70 while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.5%.
Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co LLC said, “The last day of a month or quarter is always hard to explain. It can be anything, especially with algos playing such a big part of trading.”
The Commerce Department said on Friday that the US gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 2.2% in Q4.
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