The stock markets in the United States declined as investors considered the possibility of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve at the end of this year.

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The Federal Reserve maintained the existing interest rates but indicated that a December rate increase was possible. Policymakers also removed its previous warning regarding a potential global slowdown.

Some investors are still skeptical about a December rate hike because of the recent weakness of U.S. economic data.

The Department of Commerce recently reported a 0.3% decline in orders for business equipment and the demand for all durable goods dropped 1.2% last month.The Consumer Confidence index fell to 97.6 in October.

[drizzle]Today, the Department of Labor reported that the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits increased by 1,000 to 260,000 for the week ended October 24.

National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the contract signing for previously owned homes in the United States declined last month. The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 2.3% to 106.8 in September.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “There continues to be a dearth of available listings in the lower end of the market for first–time buyers and realtor in many areas are reporting stronger competition than what’s normal this time of year because of stubbornly–low inventory conditions.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17, 755.80 (-0.13%)
  • S&P 500- 2,089.41 (-0.04%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,074.27 (-0.42%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,165.95 (-1.08%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,413.39 (-0.23%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,395.80 (-0.65%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,800.84 (-0.29%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,935.75 (+0.17%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,819.94 (-0.60%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,266.86 (-1.28%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Valeant Pharmaceuticals declined more than 4% to $111.51 per share. The company already lost more than 37% in stock value over the past five days due to allegations that it was using pharmacies such as Philidor RX Services to create fraudulent sales and inflate its growth rate. Today, CVS Health removed Philidor from its network of pharmacies. CVS said Philidor failed to comply with the terms of its provider agreement.

Hanesbrands surged more than 14% to $31.64 per share. The company reported third-quarter earnings of $0.50 per share, higher than the $0.45 per share expected by Wall Street analysts. Its revenue climbed 13.6% to $1.59 billion.

NXP Semiconductors plummeted more than 19% to $73 per share. The company posted adjusted earnings of $1.57 per share on $1.52 billion in revenue for the third quarter. Investors were disappointed because its revenue was below its guidance.

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