The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session on the red except the S&P 500, which was slightly higher today.

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Investors are evaluating the financial results of corporations as well as economic data including global manufacturing and home sales. They are also monitoring the risks of new sanctions by the European Union against Russia in connection with its actions in Ukraine.

Data showed that the manufacturing and services industry in the European region expanded. In China, manufacturing climbed to an 18-month high. Markit Economics reported that the factory gauge in the United States declined from 57.3% to 56.3% in July. Readings above 50% demonstrate growth.

Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its forecast for the global economic growth this year due to several factors including the slowdown in China and the United States as well as military conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, which increases the risk of oil price hike.

The United States government is urging the Europen Union to toughen its stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin after a Malaysian Airline crashed in Ukraine, which was allegedly shoot down by pro-Russian separatists. Russia denied any involvement in the incident.

About the corporate earnings, Pierre Mouton of Notz, Stucki & Cie in Geneva told Bloomberg, “I’m quite impressed with the results I’ve seen ‘til now. In most cases, we’ve had companies beating on revenues and earnings, and posting positive outlooks. I don’t think the market can go much higher in the short term because it’s overbought, but I don’t expect any meaningful correction.”

On the other hand, John Kvantas, director of equity research at USAA Investments commented, “Earnings are coming in better than expected, and the market has taken a queue from that but the economy overall is kind of a mixed bag.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 17,083.80 (-0.02%)
  • S&P 500- 1,987.96 (+0.05%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,472.11 (-0.04%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,156.67 (-0.12%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,220.07 (+0.84%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,821.46 (+0.34%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,794.06 (+0.42%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,284.42 (-0.29%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,141.50 (+0.71%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,237.02 (+1.78%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) dropped more than 3% to $105.02 per share after releasing its second-quarter financial results. The largest mining equipment manufacturer reported $1.57 in earnings per share and $14.15 billion in revenue. Caterpillar’s full year 2014 guidance was lower than the expectations of Wall Street analysts. The company said there is no sign of an up turn in the industry this year

The shares of Tripadvisors Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) dropped more than 5% to $101.79 per share after the company reported second-quarter adjusted earnings that missed the estimates of Wall Street analysts. TripAdvisor delivered adjusted earnings of $0.55 per share compared with the $0.61 per share consensus estimate.

Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) climbed more than 15% to $145.75 per share on report that it is considering to acquire its competitor Trulia Inc (NYSE:TRLA). The shares of Trulia surged more than 32% to $53.74 per share.