Stocks are mixed as news of surging US housing starts partially offsets disappointing earnings from 2 of tech's biggest names.
Citigroup is upgraded to 'outperform,' and Apollo Group is downgraded to 'neutral.'
Big Blue's big weighting in the index could have an outsize impact.
Housing starts hit a 4-year high, cheering investors. But the Dow and Nasdaq muster only small gains because of weakness in IBM and Intel. Apollo shares sag on earnings warning. Nike ends ties with Lance Armstrong. Oil, gold move up.
If you aren't in 1 of these 3 areas, you are playing an earnings-and-macro game that rides more on luck than skill.
Construction of new homes climbed 15% in September. Big earnings are from IBM, BAC and PEP.
But IBM and Intel results disappoint. Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson results cheer Wall Street. Citigroup's Vikram Pandit abruptly resigns as CEO after a board conflict. Consumer prices rise along with gas prices.
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Like many companies this winter, the fast-food giant blamed a drop in same-store sales on the weather. But could its problems be bigger than a snowbank?
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
MONEY & POLITICS
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's complaint database highlights the worst problems people have with collectors.
Even when they have a plan for their refund check from Uncle Sam, Americans often don't realize how they actually spend the windfall.
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