NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Stocks slid further into the red Wednesday as a disappointing report on durable goods orders led to concerns about the economy.
“It doesn’t take economic numbers meeting expectations to give the markets support. They need to beat expectations,” said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Capital Markets. “We call that ecophoria.”
The commodities market had even larger drops. Oil and copper fell roughly 2%, and gold lost more than 1%.
Analysts say that investors don’t have strong convictions over the market moves as stocks are trading lightly. Investors are waiting for first-quarter results to give them a better window into the health of the economy and the potential for corporate profits. But the first of the quarterly reports is still about two weeks away.
“The market seems to be catching its breath today,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Investors are really waiting for the next major potential driver.”
U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Tuesday after news that home prices in 20 major cities fell to the lowest levels since 2002. A disappointing report on consumer confidence further rattled investors.
Tuesday’s declines followed a big run-up in the previous day’s session, as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments on the job market gave investors reason to believe the central bank will keep interest rates low.
Stocks have rallied in 2012 on improving economic data and easing concerns about the debt crisis in Europe. With the year’s first quarter of trading ending Friday, the Dow has climbed 8%, the S&P 500 has gained nearly 13% and the Nasdaq is up more than 20%.
Economy: A government report on durable goods orders showed that orders increased 2.2% in February, less than the 2.8% expected by economists.
The price of an average gallon of regular gas surpassed the $3.90 mark Wednesday, according to the latest daily survey conducted for the motorist group AAA. Prices are now within a dime of the $4 threshold after 19 consecutive daily increases.
Companies: Annie’s (BNNY), the organic food maker known for its macaroni & cheese, surged more than 80% on its debut day on the New York Stock Exchange. The company priced shares at $19, above the established $16 to $18 range. Annie’s has sold 5 million shares for its initial public offering.
Vocera Communications (VCRA) also debuted on the NYSE Wednesday, and its shares quickly spiked more than 40%.
Regional Management (RM), the third company to go public Wednesday, moved up more than 10%.
Oil for May delivery slipped $2.22 to $105.14 a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $27.5 to $1,657.30 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up slightly, pushing the yield down to 2.18% from 2.19% late Tuesday.