Fed hints of more stimulus help stocks trim losses

An 83-point loss for the Dow shrinks to 31 points as minutes show the Federal Reserve inching toward a new economic stimulus plan. Hewlett-Packard earnings beat estimates, despite soft PC sales. Dell sags. Housing shows some strength.

By Charley Blaine Aug 22, 2012 12:46PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 8:45 p.m. ET

Stocks came back from their lows of the day after the Federal Reserve strongly hinted that it is prepared to start a new round of economic stimulus soon, perhaps by mid-September.

The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) saw an 83-point loss drop to 31 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) ended with small gains.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares fell 92 cents, or 4.8%, to $18.28 after hours even as earnings after a huge write-down beat Street estimates.

Housing provided a bit of cheer. Existing home sales rose 2.3% in July from June, and prices were up 9.4% from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said. Toll Bros. (TOL), reporting a big profit gain, said it was seeing the best demand in five years. Builders D.R. Horton (DHI) and PulteGroup (PHM) were the top performers among S&P 500 stocks.

The Dow closed at 13,173; the blue chips had been off as many as 83 points. The S&P 500 was up very slightly to 1,413, and the Nasdaq gained 6 points to 3,074. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), dominated by Apple (AAPL), was up 11 points to 2,783. Apple hit a new closing high of $668.87, up $12.81.

Article continues below.
Gold (-GC) settled down $2.40 to $1,640.50 an ounce. Silver (-SI) and copper (-HG) were higher.

Crude oil (-CL) for October delivery settled up 42 cents to $97.26 a barrel. Brent crude was up 66 cents to $115.30.

Interest rates were lower, with the 10-year Treasury yield falling to 1.719% from 1.805% on Tuesday.

Crude oil has been rising as sanctions against Iranian oil exports take hold and speculation built that Israel may attack Iran sometime this fall to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. One report said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to attack before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 6.

Thursday brings the weekly report on jobless claims as well as Commerce Department report on new-home sales in July. Earnings are scheduled for medical-supply company Patterson Companies (PDCO) and Salesforce.com (CRM).

Futures trading suggests stocks will open slightly higher on Wednesday.

HP gains despite revenue gains
HP shares were off 73 cents to $19.20 in regular trading, largely in sympathy with the weak guidance offered late Tuesday by Dell (DELL). Dell was off 66 cents to $11.68.

But early reaction to the company's corporate results have faded.

On the analyst call, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said the company's performance reflected its being in the early stages of a turnaround.

Personal-computer revenue fell 10% from a year ago but was flat from the second quarter.

Desktop sales were down 6%; notebooks were off 12%. Consumer and business sales fell. Printing was down 3%, better than the second quarter's 10% decline. Its operating margin improved 260 basis points. Services revenue was off 3%.

Enterprise hardware was down 4% with rising networking sales offset by declines in service and storage market shares. Software revenue jumped 18%, boosted by Autonomy, but license growth is only 2%.

HP also cut 4,000 jobs in the quarters and expects 11,500 more by the end of fiscal 2012.

The company reported a loss of some $9 billion under generally accepted accounting. Just about all of the loss was related to a writedown of most of the value of its 2008 purchase of data-services company EDS. HP bought the company for $13.9 billion.

Excluding the writedown, HP lost $4.49 a share. Excluding it, the company earned about $1 billion, or $1 a share. The profit was 2 cents more than Wall Street had expected. Revenue was $29.7 billion, down from $31.2 billion a year ago.
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More help coming from the Fed
The economic worries were the top forces weighing on markets at the open, with U.S. stocks following European stocks lower.

Then came the minutes from the Fed's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting. They show policy makers remaining concerned about economic prospects, with Europe the focal point. The minutes suggest the Fed will announce in September that low interest rates will remain in place until at least 2015. The Fed had previously said it expected rates to be low until 2014.

As important, the minutes suggest the Fed may soon start a new program of bond purchases, often called quantitative easing, unless the economy shows sustained and sustainable improvement. The Fed's next meeting is Sept. 12-13.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office warned the U.S. economy will slide into recession in 2013 if Congress fails to act to maintain current tax rates and avert deep cuts to federal spending.

Europeans are starting to grapple again with their debt crisis, and the divisions on how to fix the program are still stark.

The global worries were best seen in lower shares of construction-equipment makers Caterpillar (CAT), down $1.57 to $88.72; Joy Global (JOY), off 4 cents to $57.87; and Manitowoc (MTW), down a penny to $13.09. The trio sell to customers around the world and have benefited from Chinese economic growth.

That growth appears to be flagging. So much so that Australian mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP) decided to shelve for now plans to expand its Olympic Dam mining project in Australia. Olympic Dam has the world's fourth-largest copper deposit and largest uranium deposit.

BHP Billiton shares in New York were up 21 cents to $69.70.

The worries about Europe re-emerge
European markets were broadly lower as investors awaited talks between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and eurozone leaders this week.

Samaras is expected to ask for more time to meet austerity measures required for the country to receive bailout funds, The Wall Street Journal said.

The markets were pressured on reports that Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said there would be no decisions on aid to Greece until a report due in October.

DuPont, Home Depot lead the Dow
Sixteen of the 30 Dow stocks were higher today, led by DuPont (DD) and Home Depot (HD). Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar were the laggards.

Only 197 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by D.R. Horton, Pulte and Discover Financial Services (DFS). R.R. Donnelly (RRD) and Dell were the laggards.

Only 45 Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher, with Autodesk (ADSK) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) the leaders. Dell and for-profit education company Apollo Group (APOL) were the laggards.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close (updated)



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Aug 22, 2012 1:07PM
Here is American's reality check, for IF they re-elect Obama.....this is exactly how the markets will look! Down, down Americans will go!
Aug 22, 2012 1:08PM
awwww looky here, didn't see that coming, well cheer up, guess what the latest in propaganda from the insane obama regime is! oh this is good!! hysterical actually, it appears that the messiah himself, who promised to lower the sea levels, barrack hussein insane obama doesn't draw the usual crowds of leftist loonies and guilty white people as he did in 07, and 08, so in case your wondering why, here's the spin from the loonie white house, you see the president is restricting the amount of the crowds so he can be more personally involved with the individuals that are present, unlike the other times when sooooooooooooooo many obamazombies bought and drank the koolaid from days of yore, 4yrs ago, and to that I have this to say, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! AHHHHH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAA HEHEHE HEEE HHEEEEE!!! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd have you ever heard this kind of spin on the demise of a false messiah?? heheh nice try azzwipes, just keep doin' what your doin, don't change a thing, but we the people will in Nov when Pres Romney wins in a cataclysmic landslide victory!!
Aug 22, 2012 1:20PM

Jeez ... what a surprise!!  With the debt we have and goin up $1 trillion for the 4th straight year,  the economy has no where to go but down.


So .. economy is going down, unemployment is going up .... foreclosures are going up and gas is going up and will be at $4.00 very soon.


Anyone who thinks that Obama has a chance in Nov .... you are dumber than my dog .. MAX!

Aug 22, 2012 1:24PM
Everything that is up (national debt, yearly deficits, food stamps, unemployment, welfare, gas prices) should be down, and everything that is down (morale, confidence in the future, freedom, liberty, independence) should be up... Typical Liberal Leadership.
Aug 22, 2012 5:07PM

Ya gotta love the headline:  Fed hints at more stimulus....


Hhhmm, what does stimulus do?  I'll tell you.


It artificially raises the prices of stocks by creating false demand.   Since the market just hit a new four year high, then exactly what is the purpose of the stimulus since stocks have already risen?


I'll answer that too.  It's not about the economy, it's about Bernanke and Company getting Obama re-elected so they can keep their jobs, and keep their Goldman Sachs buddies happy.  Quite ironic considering how much liberals hate banks and Wall Street.


As I've posted a few times now, we don't have a stock market anymore, we have a Fed / ECB watch market, with a bunch of Pavlovian investment bankers sitting like dogs at Bernanke's feet waiting for him to ring the bell.


Get the Fed out of the market manipulation business!

Aug 22, 2012 5:31PM

Leave it to Bernanke to give the wall streeeters our tax money. Let him pay it out of his pocket.


Aug 22, 2012 2:15PM
Sister Story: "Federal employees cannot afford another four months or even another day of frozen wages," Cox said.

Can't even imagine how the rest of us are doing it, but who cares about TaxPAYERS anyway  =(.

The Death Spiral of Lost Jobs and an ever weaker and weaker economy is accelerating now folks.



Middle class share of America's income shrinking

August 22, 2012 12:52 PM ET


WASHINGTON (AP) - The share of the nation's income earned by the middle class has fallen to its lowest level in recent decades. It's been surpassed by affluent earners as median wages stagnate and wealth concentrates at the top in a relatively weak economy.

A study by the Pew Research Center highlights the diminished share for the roughly half of U.S. adults who define themselves as "middle class," with incomes ranging from $39,000 to $118,000.

The report describes this group as suffering its "worst decade in modern history," having fallen backward in share of income for the first time since World War II and losing faith in the future.

In all, 85 percent of middle-class Americans say it is more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.


Aug 22, 2012 3:14PM
Gas in LINY has been $4 Gal.Reg. for weeks.
Now that the summer driving season is coming to a close (cough,cough)the price should drop way back to $3.99 till the fall driving/holiday season.
I expect it to climb to $4.25 Gal.Reg. due to lack of use excuse or the closing of maintenance to refineries ,straight of Hormuz,camel farts,Somali pirate row boats throwing rocks at 1200 Ft tanker ships,Nor easters,droughts,locust,asteroid's,Mars,Obama apology ,Bush fault... BLa..BLA..bla.

Aug 22, 2012 5:05PM
It's pretty funny how fraud and scams can manifest in so many ways.

Monetary Policy - currency debasement / wealth confiscation scheme.
Social Security - ponzi scheme
Medicare - reverse population pyramid scheme
Global cooling (1970s) - oops didn't happen and then happened and then ....
Global warming - happened and then reversed, etc...
Climate change - been happening for millions and millions of years, BUT we now try to use it for lost political causes by claiming it is man made.

Aug 22, 2012 1:56PM
another day

another 24 hours of the Prez ducking the issues and slinging mud. 

Great leader.
Aug 22, 2012 3:28PM
progressive - that has to be the biggest misnomer in the history of politics.

Killing unborn babies  - progressive or barbaric?

Denying an individual the right to self defense - progressive or barbaric?

Sodomy is cool - progressive or barbaric?

Keeping people below the poverty level to insure their vote.  - progressive or barbaric?

Libtards would have loved living in the dark ages.

Alas poor Bernanke his print money to infinity and beyond has failed.


So what are they going to try next???


You guessed it Bernanke is insane. So they are going to print monies to beyond beyond infinity.


They are stopped now merely because they have to learn about aleph numbers.

Aug 22, 2012 5:02PM

More counterfeit money from the Fed thrown to Wall St. means $5 gas,higher food and higher

commodity prices but still no inflation because necessities are not included in the inflation

figures.Hopefully hungry people will trigger the revoloution.We are slaves to Wall St. and both

political parties are to blame.

Aug 22, 2012 4:55PM

The trouble with raising taxes on the rich is how you define rich.  Warren Buffet could easily be called rich, but our dear leader and his party, are going after the millionaires and billionaires making 200K!  Many of these are small business owners that file their small business income on their personal returns.  This adds more cost to them and they will respond by either hiring less folks or cutting somewhere else. This leads to less commerce any way you slice it.


 Perhaps raise the income tax on income over 1 or 2 million.  I don't want to be the judge.


Besides every time marginal rates are lowered the government receives more revenue.


Why all the hate on the rich.  I often read here that they stole from the middle or lower class.  Hog wash.



Aug 22, 2012 3:16PM
Traitor Ben needs to face the charges for treason and ultimately hung for his crimes.  Ben is a flying monkey for his comrade bankers of the new world order.  They are the same 9 banks that represent the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.  They are the ones capitalizing on the short term profits of this overinflation in the stock market.  When the shells are finally flipped we will ALL realize we've been duped.  They will have drained the 401k's, IRA's and every other retirement fund.
Aug 22, 2012 1:48PM
If you are in poverty, and want to stay in poverty -- vote DNC, their goal is to keep you there, keep you dependent on them. Nothing makes them happier than having you depend on them. However, if you want freedom, independence and liberty, which are the fundamentally conservative ingredients for wealth when combined with individual ambition -- vote RNC.
Aug 22, 2012 5:07PM

The first 2 rounds of QE helped so much better do a 3rd.  Keeping rates low on 2015, again it has helped so much why not keep low until 2115?  Perhaps if people could actually save with a real rate of return like they could for the previous 2 hundred years things might improve.  Stocks are not the economy, only 1 part of it. 

Also if banks could lend and actually make money on loans, would they not be inclined to loan more?  At these rates the return isn't worth the risk.

Aug 22, 2012 2:21PM
Is the Prez actually doing anything he is being paid to do or is he in full time re-election mode now? 
Aug 22, 2012 3:49PM

Tax receipts from years 2000 to 2011 totaled 25.753 trillion(lowered tax rates<Plus the biggest recession history) tax receipts from 1988 to 1999 totaled 15.427 trillion(higher tax rates)  ?????  Just for sake of argument lets throw 2 trillion at the wars,1 trillion at homeland security,1 trillion at unfunded prescrptions where did the extra 6 trillion of tax receipts ,all from Bush tax cuts go?

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

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