March 27 -Summary: Despite a strategy shift at Microsoft and hints of a new Amazon TV product tech stocks continue to falter; banks hurt by Citigroup Fed rejection; YouTube blocked in Turkey; Wall Street falls. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Banks were the dog of the day following results from the Federal Reserve's annual stress test. But tech continues to be on the slide leaving the markets with no where to go but down. An upward revision to fourth quarter U.S. economic growth and a drop in jobless claims to a four-month low were largely ignored. Citigroup was one of the worst performers in the S&P 500. Analysts were quick to downgrade the stock. One day before, regulators rejected the bank's $6.4 billion stock buyback proposal, along with plans to raise its quarterly dividend. Shares of Citigroup slumping more than five percent. As I said, tech was not left off the hook. Candy Crush maker King Digital continues to suffer. Shares down another 2.7 percent after dropping over 15 percent in its debut the day before. Microsoft is moving quickly to put Windows Office in the hands of iPad users. A new mobile app went online in the Apple App store not long after new CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement. This is a big change from Microsoft's old strategy. But investors didn't seem impressed with the change after given a head start by a report last week. Amazon will hold a rare press conference next week and there's speculation some kind of streaming video device could be announced. The company has long been rumored to be working on a set-top box that connects TV and internet. But that wasn't enough to disconnect Amazon from the selling going on all over tech. First it was Twitter and now YouTube. The Turkish government shutdown access to the video website. YouTube parent Google says it is looking into user complaints. Outside of tech: Lululemon Athletica was a bright spot. A new CEO is inspiring confidence as the brand faces competition and recovers from last year's debacle of too-sheer yoga pants. Shares climbed more than six percent for the day. In Europe, Ukraine is getting a $14 to 18 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. That did little to soothe markets which finished mostly lower.