On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
Stocks began the session in negative territory as the market was under pressure from Dow components Verizon (VZ) and Travelers (TRV); both of which were lower following their earnings reports. Travelers alone accounted for more than 30 Dow points. The market began to pare its losses and made it across the flat line where it drifted back and forth across for several hours. By mid-afternoon the averages were lower once again and they drifted in negative territory into the close. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 13,000 to 260,000 in the week ended October 15, which was above the 250,000 first-time claims that were expected. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of business conditions came in at 9.7 this month, topping the consensus call for a reading of 5. Existing home sales rose 3.2% to a 5.47M rate in September, a little better than expected. In Europe, U.K. retail sales volumes grew by 1.8% on the quarter, the fastest rate since the fourth quarter of 2014. German producer prices fell 0.2% in September, below expectations for a 0.2% increase for the month. COMPANY NEWS: Last night, Tesla (TSLA) announced that all of the vehicles it produces going forward will be equipped with self-driving hardware. The company said that it would further test its self-driving technologies before activating them in each of its vehicles. The shares of the carmaker ended the day down 2.2%... Also down was Verizon, which slid 2.46% after the wireless and Internet service provider posted better than expected third quarter earnings per share, but revenue that fell short of estimates... Meanwhile, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) reported better than expected quarterly profit, helped by cost cutting, and said it is extending the deadline to close the planned merger with Rite Aid (RAD) to January 27. After the announcement, shares of Walgreens gained 5%, while Rite Aid's stock rose 6.76%. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was American Express (AXP), which advanced 9% after the company reported better than expected quarterly results and raised its 2016 guidance. Following the release, BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to Neutral, saying the third quarter earnings report points to better than expected billings and higher net interest income and should result in improved sentiment. Also higher after earnings was United Rentals (URI), which gained 4.7% after the company reported better than expected third quarter earnings per share. Additionally, Mattel (MAT) rose 6% after the toymaker announced third quarter revenue above expectations but earnings per share narrowly below estimates. Among the noteworthy losers was Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL), which fell 15.22% after the company announced that the second of two double-blind studies in the FIT Phase 3 clinical program for fostamatinib in adult chronic/persistent immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, did not meet its primary endpoint. Also lower was eBay (EBAY), which slid 10.76% after the company reported better than expected quarterly results but missed expectations with its fourth quarter outlook. Additionally, Travelers Companies dropped 5.77% despite announcing earnings per share and revenue above expectations. INDEXES: The Dow fell 40.27, or 0.22%, to 18,162.35, the Nasdaq lost 4.58, or 0.09%, to 5,241.83, and the S&P 500 declined 2.95, or 0.14%, to 2,141.34.