Mar. 11 - Summary: Investors sell stocks after recent record without data, earnings to guide; Tesla direct sales blocked in New Jersey; Senate group outlines plans to wind down Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. Conway G. Gittens reports.
U.S. stocks down, without corporate earnings or major economic data to sway sentiment, and persistent tensions in Ukraine in the background. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell for a second day, and the Nasdaq slipped for a fourth straight session. Tesla hit a roadblock in New Jersey. The state has banned direct selling to customers, forcing Tesla to use a dealer network like other car manufacturers. Tesla says the ruling means it will have to stop selling cars in the state and not expand retail outlets. Shares of Tesla approached losses of two percent for the day. Meanwhile, General Motors tumbled more than five percent as a probe over a massive recall widens. It took around $1.8 billion for Men's Wearhouse to finally close out on rival Jos. A. Bank. The agreement finally, ends a five-month saga -started with Jos. A. Bank offering to buy its larger menswear competitor. Shares of Jos. A. Bank rallied nearly four percent, while Men's Wearhouse jumped 4.6 percent. In other dealmaking - Chobani is considering a sale of a 20 percent stake, in an offer that would value the company at roughly $2.5 billion. Sources say the fast-growing Greek yogurt maker is talking to consumer companies and private equity firms. Changes are coming to America's two companies responsible for a big chunk of the mortgage market. Leaders of the Senate Banking Committee reached a plan to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both had to be bailed out during the financial crisis - socking taxpayers with a $188 billion bill. The two companies own or guarantee 60 percent of all U.S. home loans. Washington has been fighting for years on how to dissolve these two entities without harming the housing recovery, but Republicans and Democrats differ on how to do it. In Europe, the ongoing showdown between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea is taking its toll on the markets. But strong trade data from Germany fired up investor appetite for stocks in that country, but markets stumbled in France and the U.K.