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After the Close - The U.S. stock market opened higher, spent most of the session in a choppy range, and ultimately ended in negative territory. At the end of the day in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 25 points (-0.2%); the broader S&P 500 Index was off four points (-0.3%); the technology-heavy NASDAQ surrendered nine points (-0.3%). Market breadth showed a negative bias, as declining stocks outnumbered advancers by a small margin on the NYSE. Most of the market sectors traded lower. There were considerable losses in the transports, and the energy stocks were also down sharply. In contrast, there was some relative strength in the defensive healthcare issues, and investors also favored the high-yielding utility names. 

Technically, the S&P 500 Index continues to pull back. Moreover daily trading volumes have picked up lately, suggesting the selling we have seen should be given some consideration. 

The economic news was generally positive today. The housing market’s recovery appears to be intact. According to the Commerce Department, new home sales for the month of September came in at an annually adjusted rate of 389,000 units, which was better than analysts had been expecting, and ahead of the 368,000 homes sold last month. Further, the FHFA Housing Market Index rose 0.7% during the month of August, which was encouraging. Meanwhile, this afternoon the Fed announced that it will leave it low interest-rate policy in place for quite some time, which was not surprising. Tomorrow, the employment situation is back in the spotlight as we receive the weekly initial and continuing jobless claims figures. We also get a look at the durable goods report for September, and further information on the housing market with the issuance of the pending home sales figures for September.

Once again, traders were busy sifting through third-quarter earnings releases. Dow Chemical (DOW) saw its shares rise after the company reported stronger-than-expected profits. Panera Bread (PNRA) posted good results, and that issue traded higher. Netflix (NFLX) stock was sharply lower on a weak report. Also, in the Internet area, Facebook (FB) stock rallied after the social networking company put out an encouraging release. 

Active issues that headed higher today included: Silicon Labs (SLAB), Polycom (PLCM), and Monster Beverage (MNST). Stocks that moved lower included: Compuware (CPWR), Corning (GLW), and Norfolk Southern (NSC).   - Adam Rosner

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.

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12:30 PM EDT - The U.S. markets opened higher today, buoyed by a smattering of positive news. Most notably, new home sales jumped to their highest level in over two years. The Commerce Department’s report for September indicated that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000 units was up 5.7% from August’s tally and 27.1% over the prior-year period’s rate. Moreover, the September number was the highest recorded since April of 2010, when the homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales.

Also helping stocks edge higher was news that Dow component Boeing’s (BAthird-quarter earnings beat consensus estimates and management increased its guidance for the full year. Meanwhile, Dow Chemical (DOW) shares jumped about 8% as investors reacted favorably to the company’s announced plans to restructure. Elsewhere, Facebook (FB) shares were up sharply, as the social-networking company reported a 32% increase in revenues after last night’s close. Market sentiment was also likely boosted by news that China’s manufacturing output for October improved to a three-month high.

However, by the noon hour New York time, the major indexes had surrendered most of their earlier gains, with the NASDAQ down five points and the S&P 500 Index back around the unchanged mark. The Dow Industrials, meanwhile, were holding on to a slim 13 point gain.

European markets enjoyed a bit of reprieve today, boosted by the positive news on Chinese manufacturing and rumors that Greece might get a two-year extension to meet the terms of its international bailout program. Overall, gains were fairly modest though, ranging from .60% for France’s CAC 40, to just a fraction above breakeven for London’s FTSE 100. - Mario Ferro

At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned. 

  

Stocks to Watch from The Survey The technology sector is in the spotlight today, as investors received two contrasting earnings reports from social network operator Facebook (FB) and digital media and content provider Netflix (NFLX). Facebook delivered better-than-expected results and impressed investors with its efforts to monetize mobile use of its Website. The stock is surging in the premarket. Meanwhile, Netflix disappointed investors with its third-quarter financials and is down sharply in pre-market trading.

Industrials will also garner a bit of investors’ attention this morning, as two Dow-30 components, telecommunications outfit AT&T (TFree AT&T Stock Report) and aerospace/defense company Boeing (BAFree Boeing Stock Report) reported third-quarter sales and earnings. Shares of AT&T are little changed in early morning trading, while Boeing stock is up nicely ahead of the opening bell. Staying in the aerospace/defense industry, shares of Lockheed Martin (LMT), General Dynamics (GD), and Northrop Grumman (NOC) are also indicating higher openings this morning, though to a lesser extent.

Other stocks making big moves on earnings reports include retail building supply company Lumber Liquidators (LL) and wireless networking company RF Micro Devices (RFMD), both of which are trading sharply higher in the premarket. On the other hand, shares of mattress maker Tempur-Pedic (TPX) are plunging ahead of the opening bell.  

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.

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Before The Bell - Investors are looking to regroup today after a major selloff on Wall Street yesterday on disappointing earnings news. In fact, two out of the last three sessions have seen major losses in stocks. But early indications are for somewhat of a bounce at today’s opening bell.

Earnings will again be in the spotlight, and so far there is more encouraging news on that front so far this morning.

One bright spot is Facebook (FB), which last night reported in its quarterly earnings release that advertising revenue accelerated. After its IPO earlier this year proved a flop, the company has been under pressure to show that it is capable of generating significant growth. The social network appears to have done that with a jump in ad sales, although the company still posted a slight loss.

Expectations that tech companies, such as Facebook, would post comparatively strong results, plus the anticipation of Apple’s (AAPL) launch of the iPad Mini tablet yesterday, helped cushion the fall on the technology-laden NASDAQ, versus the Dow.

Heading into the opening bell, the market also has an upbeat earnings report from Dow component Boeing (BAFree Boeing Stock Report). The aircraft manufacturer topped analysts’ bottom-line estimates for the third quarter, even though profits were down year over year on a charge to meet pension liabilities.

Meantime, the backdrop out of Europe and Asia is mixed. There is a sense of relief that a manufacturing index in China rose to a three-month high, since it suggests the world’s second largest economy is not headed for a hard landing. But a similar manufacturing gauge in Germany fell to a two-month low in October. Nevertheless, stocks in Europe are moving modestly higher on improved corporate profit news on this side of the Atlantic this morning.

Investors will be sizing up this week’s first big piece of economic data today, as well, when New Home Sales for September are released. The thinking is that last month moved higher from August, keeping the recovery in housing on track. Much of the Federal Reserve’s exertions these past few years have been aimed at turning around the housing market.

As for the Fed, it will be concluding its two-day policy meeting this afternoon. No major changes are expected, although the central bank could strengthen the wording of its policy and there is an outside chance it will boost the amount of securities it plans to purchase.

Summing up, stocks look to be headed for a slightly higher opening on positive results from Boeing and Facebook. The mid-morning release of New Home Sales should be a telling indicator, too. - Robert Mitkowski

At the time of this writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.