Stocks waver on mixed economic reports

Personal incomes and spending increase more than expected. Ford, General Motors sales climb. Gold hits another record.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 1, 2010 8:00AM

TheStreetBy Melinda Peer, TheStreet

 

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

 

Stocks were wavering on the first day of the fourth quarter after new reports showed personal incomes and spending grew but manufacturing activity remained weak.

 

At 1:50 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up by 24 points, or 0.2%, at 10,811. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up by 2.4 points, or 0.2%, at 1,144. The Nasdaq ($COMPX) was falling by 2.9 points, or 0.2%, to 2,365.

 

Personal incomes gained 0.5% in August after increasing 0.2% in July. Personal spending rose 0.4% in August compared with similar growth in July, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected incomes to climb 0.3% and spending to grow 0.3%, according to Briefing.com.

 

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 68.2 in September from its preliminary reading of 66.6. The final figure beat expectations for a reading of 67 but was less than 68.9 in August.

The Institute for Supply Management said its purchasing managers index fell to 54.4 in September from 56.3 in August. Economists had expected a reading of 54.8, according to Briefing.com.  

 

Construction spending grew 0.4% in August, exceeding expectations for a decline of 0.7%, and turning positive after dropping 1.4% in July.

 

William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, called current economic conditions "unsatisfactory" and said further stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve are probable.

 

In company news, General Motors said sales rose 22% in September from a year earlier. Ford (F) said sales jumped 46%, helped by sales of new models. Ford shares were up 0.2% at $12.26.

 

Microsoft (MSFT) will release a line of smart phones through AT&T (T), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Microsoft shares were rising 0.6% to $24.65, while AT&T shares were up 0.6% to $28.76.

 

Wal-Mart (WMT) and health insurer Humana (HUM) plan to introduce the cheapest prescription drug coverage in the U.S. to Medicare recipients. Wal-Mart shares were unchanged. Humana shares were gaining 0.2% at $50.32.

 

Spanish oil and gas company Repsol and China-based oil company Sinopec (SNP) formed a Brazil joint venture worth $17.8 billion. Sinopec's American depositary receipts were up 1.2% at $89.36.

 

UAL and Continental completed their $3.5 billion merger to form the world's largest airline. The new company is called United Continental Holdings (UAL).

 

Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) ended its bid to buy rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTG) after investors rejected its $1.4 billion offer, Bloomberg News reported. Avis Budget Group (CAR), which has bid $1.5 billion for Dollar Thrifty, will likely acquire the company. Hertz shares were falling 3.4% at $10.23. Dollar shares were little changed at $50.16. Avis shares were climbing 1.6% at $11.82.

 

Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) saw shares rise 1.2% to $1.22 after it said it expects to end 2010 with 20.1 million subscribers.

 

Shares of Gymboree (GYMB) were jumping 17.4% higher to $48.76 on a Wall Street Journal report that the company is exploring the possibility of selling the company to private investors.

 

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and PNC Financial Services (PNC) were among some of the banks targeted in an international identity theft attempt, according to The Wall Street Journal. Their stocks were gaining 1.1% to $38.47, and 0.6% to $52.23, respectively.

 

Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) were falling 4% to $40.38 after the company named Leo Apotheker its new CEO on Thursday. Apotheker's previous experience includes 20 years at software company SAP (SAP).

 

The November crude oil contract was adding 93 cents to trade at $80.90 a barrel.

 

The December gold contract, the most actively traded gold future, was jumping $9.90 at $1,319.50 an ounce. Spot gold prices earlier hit a record of $1,317.10.

  

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.6%, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury note weakened 2/32, lifting the yield to 2.519%.

 

Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.09%, while Japan's Nikkei inched up 0.4%. The FTSE in London was gaining 0.8%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was down by 0.3%.

 

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217Comments
Oct 1, 2010 5:37PM
avatar

Once upon a time, there was America, where the American Dream was the pursuit of happiness. Americans dreamed of wealth and prosperity as the fruits of their years.  The country grew and prospered.  And over the years, many achieved those goals.

 

And then there was Amerika, where Amerikans dreamed of wealth and prosperity by winning the lottery.  Amerikans did not feel cheated by the lottery winners because everyone had to contribute to the lottery, and they all took turns winning it.

 

But some Amerikans did not want to wait their turn.  They wanted to win the lottery without putting anything into it.  And they wanted their turn to win to come faster than before.

 

There wasn't a happy ending to the story of Amerika.

Oct 1, 2010 5:23PM
avatar

"they get to co-author our corporate laws and rules and tax codes, and they are the ones stealing from us, from a fair play level playing field perspective and its a travesty that a minor amount of people own almost everything in a free market democratic society. the icing on their elite cake is that they get feeble minded miguided serfs and slaves to carry their water for them while blaming the lowest class for all their problems. its called a superiiority complex"

 

If that's not disdain, I don't know what is!

Oct 1, 2010 6:42PM
avatar
When everyone starts hiring, they won't get good employees without raising wages.
 
People are desperate. The race to the bottom is alive and kicking. If unemployment dropped to almost nil, then wages would rise, but that won't happen.
I meant when the labor market gets tight because everyone is hiring.
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