Stocks opened little changed as the market looked for direction. The market seemed to find the guidance it was looking for after a consumer conference reading hit its highest level in 18 years. Although there were several gyrations, the market spent most of the day in positive territory. The Nasdaq, which is putting in its worst monthly performance in 10 years, remained the laggard behind the Dow and S&P.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the 20-city survey by Case Shiller showed its home price index fell 0.02% to 213.72 in August. The Conference Board's consumer confidence reading rose to a third consecutive 18-year high of 137.9 in October from 135.3 in September.
COMPANY NEWS: Shares of General Electric (GE) hit a session low of $9.98, falling below $10 per share for the first time since April of 2009, after the company reported lower than expected Q3 earnings and revenue. GE also said it plans to reduce its quarterly dividend from 12c to 1c per share, which will allow the company to retain about $3.9B of cash per year compared to the prior payout level. Additionally, new Chairman and CEO Lawrence Culp reported that the company plans to reorganize its Power business into two units. GE closed out the day with a loss of about 9% at $10.18.
Coca-Cola (KO) shares were 2.5% higher after the beverage maker reported better than expected sales and profits, boosted by Diet Coke, bottled water and other low and no-sugar drinks.
Apple (AAPL) unveiled a new MacBook Air, a new Mac mini and a new iPad Pro. Of note, the new iPad "pushes 11-inch and 12.9-inch Liquid Retina displays to the edges" and will feature a USB-C connector instead of the company's proprietary Lightning ports.
Meanwhile, Take-Two (TTWO) shares jumped 11% after the company's Rockstar subsidiary said that its new game "Red Dead Redemption 2" achived over $725M in worldwide retail sell-through during its first three days of release.
Additionally, Papa John's (PZZA) shares surged 10% after Reuters reported that Bain Capital and CVC Capital are competing in a bid to acquire the pizza chain.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Electro Scientific (ESIO), which surged 91% after it agreed to be acquired by MKS Instruments for $30 per share. Also higher were Under Armour (UAA) and Akamai (AKAM), which gained a respective 28% and 17% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Evoqua Water (AQUA), which fell 35% after cutting its fiscal 2018 revenue guidance and announcing a restructuring plan. Also lower were Community Health (CYH) and AutoNation (AN), which declined xx% and xx%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 431.72, or 1.77%, to 24,874.64
, the Nasdaq gained 111.36, or 1.58%, to 7,161.65, and the S&P 500 advanced 41.38, or 1.57%, to 2,682.63.