A rising dollar, weak Chevron earnings and stress on Apple shares slam stocks. The national unemployment rate ticks up to 7.9% as more people look for work. Oil and gold sag. Starbucks jumps nearly 10%. Restoration Hardware soars after its IPO.

By Charley Blaine Nov 2, 2012 12:46PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 8:03 p.m. ET

Employers added 171,000 jobs in October, but the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9%, the Labor Department announced today.

While the jobs report was basically good, stocks slumped this afternoon on weakness in Chevron (CVX), Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM) and a host of property-casualty companies that face big claims from Superstorm Sandy.

In addition, the dollar moved higher on the jobs report, as traders worried that the Federal Reserve might pull back on its low-interest rate policy. Energy and materials stocks were lower. Gold (-GC) fell below $1,700 for the first time since early September.

The losses wiped out weekly gains for the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX). 

Stocks surge on improved private-sector employment; jobless claims slip. Starbucks, AIG and Priceline earnings impress. Crude is up in New York but down in London.

By Charley Blaine Nov 1, 2012 12:52PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 7:52 p.m. ET

Stocks started November with their best performance in seven weeks, thanks to two decent jobs reports and an improved outlook on manufacturing. 

If there was a downside to the rally, it was that the major averages pulled back from their early highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) jumped as many as 177 points, fueled by gains for IBM (IBM) and Caterpillar (CAT), but then profit-taking set in.

Private-sector employers added 158,000 jobs in October, the ADP National Employment Report estimated, better than expected, and the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 363,000 last week, down from 372,000 the prior week and smaller than the consensus estimate of 369,000. The Labor Department will release its October jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. The unemployment rate is expected to rise slightly from 7.8% to 7.9%, with payroll employment rising by about 125,000 jobs.

After the close, shares of Starbucks (SBUX) jumped $3.35 to $49.97 from a regular close of $46.62. The coffee-shop giant's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share beat the Street estimate of 45 cents. Revenue was up 11% to $3.36 billion and in line with estimates. Also moving higher because of strong earnings: Priceline.com (PCLN) and American International Group (AIG). 

The Dow loses all of an 82-point gain as Wall Street ramps up after Hurricane Sandy. Recovery prospects boost Home Depot and Lowe's. Apple sags on management turmoil. Cirrus Logic's Apple business boosts profits. Oil and gold move up.

By Charley Blaine Oct 31, 2012 12:56PM

Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:34 p.m. ET

After Hurricane Sandy forced a historic two-day closure, the U.S. stock market reopened today and ended the day modestly lower. As a result, stocks ended October with their first monthly losses since May.

Apple (AAPL) fell below $600 for the first time since July as its big management shakeup -- forcing out the heads of its iPhone operating system group and retail businesses -- weighed on tech stocks.  Walt Disney's (DIS) $4 billion buyout of Lucasfilm, director George Lucas' production company, weighed on the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU). 

But Netflix (NFLX) shares jumped $9.66 to $79.24 after corporate raider Carl Icahn disclosed his Icahn Capital and related entities owned 9.99% of Netflix's shares. The company is undervalued, especially given its international potential, Icahn said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.  But he hasn't proposed any major actions.

Meanwhile, the stocks you'd expect to be winners after all the destruction from Sandy were higher. These include Home Depot (HD), Lowe's (LOW), Masco (MAS) and Whirlpool (WHR). Property and casualty insurers, such as Allstate (ALL) and Chubb (CHB), were lower, as adjusters start the process of claims management in the aftermath of a storm that may have caused damages of $20 billion or more.


Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.1 billion. The major exchanges say they can resume normal stock trading on Wednesday. Ford has decent results; GM's earnings are on tap. Apple has a big management shuffle. October may be a loser for investors.

By Charley Blaine Oct 30, 2012 5:13PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 5:46 p.m. ET.

Trading in U.S. stocks will resume Wednesday with the major exchanges planning regular trading hours.

The open will feature market reaction to a blockbuster media deal. Walt Disney (DIS) said late today it will buy Lucasfilm in a $4.05 billion deal. The company will pay half of the purchase price in cash and issue close to 40 million shares at the closing for the balance. Lucasfilm is the production company of Star Wars director George Lucas.

The New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq system were closed Monday and again today as Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey, causing power outages, flooding and even fires. Some 38 deaths are attributed to the storm. The New York subway system experience widespread flooding in its tunnels.

Gold (-GC) and crude oil (-CL) traded in U.S. markets moved modestly higher. The national average retail price of gasoline fell to $3.534 today, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report from $3.543 a gallon on Monday. The price has fallen 6.7% this month.  

Exchanges won't reopen until Hurricane Sandy makes landfall. Look for a Wednesday reopen. Insurance companies could see $5 billion to $10 billion in losses. Important economic and earnings reports are due, including Friday's jobs report.

By Charley Blaine Oct 29, 2012 4:10PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:20 p.m. ET

U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed again Tuesday because of the worry of the havoc Hurricane Sandy will cause around the New York metro area.

The move was expected because markets were closed today before Sandy even made landfall over New Jersey. Markets probably will reopen Wednesday as the storm moves inland. The eye of the storm is supposed to move into central Pennsylvania and then through New York state and New England and then into Ontario and Quebec.

Wednesday will not only be Halloween but the end of the month. Moreover, this week is one of the heaviest for earnings, and it ends with the October unemployment report, which could have a big impact on the election.

As of Friday, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were down 2.5% for the month, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) down 2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) down 4.1%.  

But Apple retakes $600 after earnings and guidance disappoint investors. Amazon shares jump despite a quarterly loss. GDP rises at a 2% annual rate, but consumer optimism slips even as Americans spend more. Gasoline prices continue to drop.

By Charley Blaine Oct 26, 2012 1:03PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 7:24 p.m. ET

Stocks ended the day little changed, but the major averages finished lower for the second week in the last three.

The market gained strength from technology stocks, which rebounded from early-afternoon lows. Apple (AAPL) was the poster child for the rebound, falling below $600 for the first time since July 30 and climbing from a $591 low to a close of $604, a loss of $5.54. The company's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings missed Street estimates and its guidance was also lower than expected.

Investors also bid shares of Amazon.com (AMZN) up $15.32 to $238.24 despite the company's loss for its third quarter. Investors are buying into the company's assurances that huge investments now will pay off later.

Financial stocks slipped as investors worried about economic conditions in Europe --Spain's unemployment rate hit 25% -- and the fiscal-cliff impact in the United States. There was some decent news: a better-than-expected third-quarter gain in gross domestic product, the key indicator of economic growth. GDP growth was an annualized 2%, the Commerce Department said, fueled by gains in consumer spending and housing investment. 

Apple shares are briefly halted. Earnings are lower than expected; iPad sales disappoint. Amazon sales also disappoint. Stocks rebound after Fitch Ratings denies it plans a U.S. debt downgrade. Pending home sales slip.

By Charley Blaine Oct 25, 2012 12:57PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:07 p.m. ET

Apple (AAPL) shares briefly fell below $600 after hours as the company's earnings of $8.67 a share missed Wall Street estimates of $8.75. The issue seems to be a shortfall of iPad production. Revenue was up 27% to $35.97 billion, slightly ahead of estimates.

The shares had fallen $7.29 to $609.54 in regular trading and fell to as low as $597 after hours -- trading was briefly halted -- before rebounding to $607.75, down $1.79, at 6:07 p.m. ET. Apple hasn't closed below $600 since July 30. Apple shipped 26.9 million iPhones in its fiscal fourth quarter, a bit more than expected, but iPad shipments were 14 million, lower than expected.

(AMZN) shares were down as much as $20 after hours before buying brought the stock back to $220, down from a regular close of $222.92. The company reported a revenue miss and a larger-than-expected earnings loss.

The results came after stocks moved modestly higher today, breaking a two-day losing streak as earnings from energy and health care companies gave the market a boost. But the Apple and Amazon results seem certain to weigh on stocks on Friday. 

The Dow falls 25 after the central bank says the economy still needs help. Investors cheer Facebook's mobile ad efforts. Boeing and Panera Bread offer bullish outlooks. But Netflix shares are crushed. New-home sales are the strongest in 2 years.

By Charley Blaine Oct 24, 2012 1:06PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:30 p.m. ET

Stocks fell modestly today even after the Federal Reserve said it still expects to maintain low interest rates at least into 2015. The central bank also said it will continue to buy in billions of dollars of securities each month to boost the economy.

Wall Street expected the move. The stock market's decline was due to continuing concerns about global and domestic growth and earnings worries. The effect of today's move will be to keep U.S. interest rates low for the foreseeable future. Perhaps chief among the rates for now: mortgage rates. Bankrate.com said the rate on a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.46% today.

After the close, shares of game-maker Zynga (ZNGA) jumped sharply. The company reported break-even earnings but also announced a $200 million stock buyback. Software company Symantec (SYMC) also rallied strongly as earnings beat estimates.

The market's late-day decline came after stocks were slammed Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) suffering its worst one-day loss since June. Facebook's  (FB) results late Tuesday cheered investors. So did earnings and guidance from Panera Bread (PNRA) and Boeing (BA). But Netflix (NFLX) slumped from weak guidance. Energy stocks struggled as oil and natural gas prices have moved lower. 


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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session with slim gains after showing some intraday volatility in reaction to the release of the latest policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, while the relative strength among small caps sent the Russell 2000 higher by 0.3%.

Equities spent the first half of the session near their flat lines as participants stuck to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC statement, which conveyed no changes to the ... More


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