The stock markets ended the trading session lower today as investors wait for the statement of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to see signs for continued implementation of the $85 billion monthly quantitative easing.

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The Federal Reserve is also expected to release the minutes of the previous meeting of policymakers tomorrow.

Yesterday, activist investor Carl Icahn expressed concerns regarding the stock market and he warned that it could suffer from a “big drop.” Icahn’s statement frightened some investors, and the stock markets declined.

William Dudley, president of the Federal Bank of New York said yesterday that he is “more hopeful” that the economy of the United States is gaining strength, but it is not enough to justify a reduction in stimulus.  On the other hand, Charles Evans, president of the Federal Bank of Chicago stated that the Central Bank is expected to deliver highly accommodative policy until the target economic level is reached, but according to him, the greatest challenge is credibility.

Tomorrow, the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting in October will provide details regarding the decision of policymakers towards maintaining the $85 billion monthly bond-buying program.

The survey conducted by Bloomberg showed that economists projected that the Federal Reserve could start tapering the stimulus to $70 billion in March.

John Stoltzfus, chief market strategist at Oppenheimer & Co opined, “Recent improvements in the tone of U.S. economic data suggest to us that prospects are good for investors to see a continuation of the economic recovery that could drive earnings higher in the year ahead.”

On the other hand, Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird & Co said, “The economy is not doing badly, and the Fed is remaining very aggressive and very friendly toward the market. We’ve had a big run. My suspicion is that the market might go sideways now for a little while before we encounter a year-end rally in December.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15, 967.03 (-0.06%)
  • S&P 500- 1,787.87 (-0.20%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,931.55 (-0.44%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,099.95 (-0.66%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,049.17 (-1.04%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,698.01 (-0.38%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,193.29 (-0.35%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15, 126.56 (-0.25%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,657.81 (-0.01%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2, 412.16 (-0.69%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) declined almost 11% to $38.78 per share after the electronics retailer reported disappointing earnings for the third quarter. The company posted $0.12 diluted earnings per share on $9.36 billion revenue compared with the consensus estimate of $0.13 diluted earnings per share on $9.3 billion revenue. Best Buy said it is facing strong promotional competition and it is committed to compete strongly with its peers in the retail industry. The company warned competition would negatively affect its gross margin.

Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) dropped 6.24% to $39.20 per share after the company reported lower than expected quarterly profits. The company reported $0.66 earnings per share, lower than the $0.86 consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company said its performance for the quarter was hurt by the reduction of inventories among retailers.

The stock value of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) climbed 4.67% to $30.78 per share after the company posted better than expected quarterly financial results. Its fourth quarter net income was $259 million or $0.70 earnings per share on $8.89 billion revenue driven by 2.4% and 4% sales gains in chicken and beef, respectively, during the quarter.