The stock markets in the United States pulled back today as investors concentrate on the financial performance of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the market close today, and the upcoming meeting of the Federal Reserve next week. Some analysts believe that the quality of corporate earnings is lower due to cost cutting.

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The index of pending home sales declined 5.6%, the biggest drop in more than three years, based on the report released by the National Association of Realtors. Yelena Shulyatyeva, U.S. economist at BNP Paribas commented, “We’ll be in the weakness for a little bit, maybe even going into the fourth quarter. This is a clear signal to the Fed as to what happens when you try to play with nascent housing recovery. The minutes indicated they were really concerned about it.”

In addition, the production of factories in the country didn’t expand as much as expected for the month of September. Production increased by 0.01% after a revised 0.05% gain in August, which is lower than anticipated. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated a 0.03% increase in factory output for September.

Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert. W. Baird & Co. opined that economic data will be temporarily irrelevant because the economic shutdown delayed economic reports, and he believed that the Federal Reserve will maintain its bond-buying program. He added, “I don’t expect anything of substance or any market-moving rhetoric to come out of the Fed.” Furthermore, he said that the stocks have been supported by somewhat better than anticipated earnings in the third quarter, but the primary driver was the stimulus of the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15,569.19 (-0.01%)
  • S&P 500- 1,760.02 (+0.01%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,934.14 (-0.23%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,115.63 (-0.24%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,022.04 (-0.41%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,725.82 (+0.07%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 8,978.65 (-0.08%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,396.04 (+2.19%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,806.58 (+0.48%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2, 365.96 (-0.11%)

Stocks in focus

The stock price of Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) rose as much as $21.27 a share after reporting third quarter revenue that outperformed the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts due to strong results from its comparable store sales that offset the weal performance of its stores in Canada and the United States. The company posted $275.1 million in revenue compared with the $264.5 million consensus estimate while its income was $68.2 million or $0.19 earnings per share. Burger King raised its quarterly dividend to $0.07 per share.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) gained more than 6% to as much as $52.35 per share after revealing that the early stage of the clinical study for its cancer-treatment drug nivolumab showed positive results. The study showed that 42% of patients with lung cancer treated with nivolumab were still alive after one year and 24% were alive after two years. Nivolumab is designed to treat different types of cancer. The results of the study for its rheumatoid arthritis drug also showed positive results wherein 78% of the patients who took the medicine showed a 20% decline in their symptoms.

The stock value of Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN), the maker of prostate cancer medicine Provenge rose 11% to as high as $3.02 per share on reports that it is working with  JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) to seek suitors after the sales if its drug missed expectations.

Meanwhile, the stock price of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) climbed to as much as $7.49 per share, up by more than 8% after its CEO Mike Ullman expressed strong confidence that the embattled department store chain will be able to deliver positive comparable store sales for the third quarter.