The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 recorded a slight gain, up by 0.18% and 0.6%, respectively while the Nasdaq Composite remained on the red zone, down by -0.46% after the closing of the trading session today.

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The majority of investors are optimistic that lawmakers will eventually reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, and Janet Yellen, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve, will not be aggressive in withdrawing the quantitative easing or bond-buying program.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management said, “Today’s reaction is favorable based on Yellen’s nomination, and secondly there seems to be some thawing of the rhetoric which sets the stage for a resolution that could come before the deadline. That’s positive for the broad equity market.”

Tomorrow, a small group of Republican negotiators will be heading to the White House to talk with President Barack Obama to end the gridlock on raising the debt limit and to discuss various issues including the health care law and entitlement programs.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 14,803.37 (+0.18%)
  • S&P 500- 1,656.48 (+0.06%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,677.78 (-0.46%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,046.15 (-0.11%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 2, 904.73 (+0.05%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,337.91 (-0.44%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 8,516.69 (-0.46%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,037.84 (+1.03%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,033.97 (-0.63%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2, 453.58 (+0.48%)

Stocks In Focus

The stock price of Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) gained nearly 2% to $8.10 a share after reporting better than expected third quarter earnings results. The aluminum giant posted $0.02 earnings per share on $5.8 billion revenue. Excluding special items, Alcoa’s profit was $0.11 per share, higher than the $0.05 earnings per share consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) surged by almost 9% to $22.60 per share after its chief executive officer Meg Whitman provided a more positive outlook for the company. She projected that revenue of the company will stabilize next year with pockets of growth from 2013. In addition, Whitman also said that the company will execute another big restructuring after 2014. “While there is a lot more work to be done, I am confident about the progress we are making,” said Whitman.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, rose by 7.11% to $49.57 per share after Barrington Capital acquired a stake in the company. The investment management firm believed that the restaurant operator “has the potential to deliver significantly higher returns to shareholders,” and anticipates continuing its discussions with the management of Darden Restaurants to improve its financial and stock performance.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, declined by 6.76% to $66.48 percent after the company reported weaker financial results for the third quarter. The company’s earnings declined by 67% to $0.33 per share from $1.00 in the same period a year ago. According to the company, the company is still struggling to recover from the flu scare and negative publicity surrounding its chicken supply in China.