Closing Bell

UMB Financial, Commerce, Cap Fed tumble

Updated: 2013-06-14T21:37:31Z

Regional bank stocks were among the biggest losers Friday, as disappointing news about the economy drove the stock market lower.

The region’s two biggest bank companies — Commerce and UMB Financial — fell 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Capitol Federal Financial, based in Topeka, lost 1.4 percent.

Among stocks in the S&P 500 Index, banks were among the hardest hit Friday.

On Wall Street, concerns that the Federal Reserve could announce plans to cut back its stimulus program next week weighed on the mood.

Americans' confidence in the economy weakened in June and was lower than economists had estimated, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey out Friday. Another report said factories weren't as busy as expected.

The International Monetary Fund, a global lender, offered no help. The IMF said Friday that U.S. government spending cuts that kicked in March 1 were “ill-designed” and slowed the economy down.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index sank 9.63 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,626.73. Media company Gannett fell the most, dropping $1.61, or 6 percent, to $24.99.

“There was just no good news today,” said Cam Albright, a director at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors in Wilmington, Del. Add the handful of economic reports out Friday to the anxiety over the Fed's stimulus program, “and you have the recipe for a soft market to finish the week,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial dropped 105.90 points, or 0.7 percent, to 15,070.18. American Express led the Dow lower, losing $2.24, or 3 percent, to $72.97.

The BATS 1000 fell 95.60 points, or 0.52 percent, to close at 18,254.42.

Market indexes flitted from slight gains to losses in morning trading, a contrast to the sudden lurches in previous days. All three major indexes lost 1 percent or more this week.

Trading has been volatile since late May as traders try to figure out when the Fed will dial back its aggressive support for the U.S. economy. This week was no different: The Dow slumped a total of 243 points on Tuesday and Wednesday then jumped 180 points Thursday. The blue-chip average has made moves of 100 points or more in seven of the last 10 trading days.

The Fed buys $85 billion in bonds every month as part of a campaign to keep interest rates extremely low. The aim is to encourage borrowing, spending and investing. Some investors worry that long-term interest rates could spike when the Fed pulls back, raising borrowing costs and threatening the economic recovery. Higher yields for government bonds have already started pushing mortgage rates up.

Policymakers at the Fed will start a two-day meeting Tuesday to discuss the central bank's next steps. After the meeting wraps up, the bank will release its policy statement and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold another press conference.

Scott King, senior fiduciary investment adviser at Unified Trust in Lexington, Ky., said that investors in recent weeks have been influenced more by wondering about what the Fed might do than by the underlying economy.

“You have a number of Fed governors saying the opposite to what Bernanke is saying,” King said. “And that's made the markets more jittery.”

King said investors were disappointed Friday by the drop in consumer confidence. He described the economy as “plodding along.”

“Wage growth continues to be pretty meager, and unemployment continues to be lackluster,” King said.

Banks led nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 lower. Utilities made slight gains. Investors tend to favor these safety plays when they want stable companies that pay steady dividends.

The S&P 500 hit a record high of 1,669 on May 21. The next day, Fed officials said they would consider pulling back on their stimulus program once the economy looks healthy enough. The S&P 500 has lost 2 percent since.

In other Friday trading, the Nasdaq composite index lost 21.81 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,423.56.

The price of oil rose $1.16 to close at $97.85 a barrel, near its highest level of the year, as traders reacted to news that the U.S. would provide weapons to rebel forces in Syria.

Regional stocks

Capitol Federal Financial fell 17 cents, or 1.41%, to close at $11.88.

Cerner Corp. fell 68 cents, or 0.69%, to close at $98.22.

Commerce Bancshares Inc. fell 74 cents, or 1.69%, to close at $43.02.

Compass Minerals rose 3 cents, or 0.04%, to close at $85.47.

DST Systems Inc. rose 41 cents, or 0.61%, to close at $67.09.

Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 6 cents, or 0.27%, to close at $22.27.

Garmin Ltd. fell 89 cents, or 2.57%, to close at $33.72.

Great Plains Energy rose 23 cents, or 1.01%, to close at $22.97.

H&R Block Inc. fell 28 cents, or 0.97%, to close at $28.63.

Inergy L.P. rose 58 cents, or 2.49%, to close at $23.92.

Kansas City Life Insurance Co. fell 50 cents, or 1.30%, to close at $37.97.

Kansas City Southern fell 85 cents, or 0.76%, to close at $110.60.

Layne Christensen Co. fell 74 cents, or 3.57%, to close at $19.96.

O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 11 cents, or 0.10%, to close at $111.56.

Sprint Nextel Corp. was unchanged at $7.32.

UMB Financial Corp. fell $1.06, or 1.99%, to close at $52.15.

Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. fell 92 cents, or 1.95%, to close at $46.15.

YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 11 cents, or 0.49%, to close at $22.71.

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