The S&P 500 closed just below the 3,000 level as the latest round of earnings reports were mostly positive and a Brexit deal was reached between the EU and U.K. The Dow advanced as well, but its gains lagged the S&P and Nasdaq due in large part to a drag from IBM (IBM) following its quarterly revenue miss.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 214,000 in the week ended October 12. Housing starts fell 9.4% to a 1.256M rate in September while building permits declined 2.7% to a 1.387M rate. The Philly Fed manufacturing index reading for October fell 6.4 points to 5.6, which was a little weaker than expected. Industrial production declined 0.4% in September, which was weaker than expected, and capacity utilization fell to 77.5%.
In White House news, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced in a press conference that the U.S. and Turkey have come to terms regarding a ceasefire in Syria.
In Europe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted news that a "fair and balanced" Brexit deal has been reached, after which U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the United Kingdom has "a great new deal that takes back control." The European Commission has recommended the European Council endorse the agreement reached at negotiator level on the U.K. withdrawal agreement, including a revised protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, and approve a revised political declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. The tentative agreement must allow be approved by the U.K. Parliament, which is not a given.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Netflix (NFLX) advanced 2.5% following its Q3 report. On the heels of the report, Macquarie analyst Tim Nollen downgraded Netflix to Neutral from Outperform with a price target of $325, down from $375. Meanwhile, Huber Research analyst Craig Huber double downgraded Netflix to Underweight from Overweight and put his price target under review following the company's Q3 report, noting this was the second straight quarter where net paid streaming member additions missed guidance.
IBM shares dropped 5.5% after Big Blue's earnings beat, revenue missed and the company backed its fiscal year adjusted EPS outlook. Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal lowered his price target for IBM to $170 from $175 following the report, saying the company's Global Technology Services outsourcing unit "fared materially worse" in Q3, which brings down Q4 and 2020 estimates. However, these negatives are partially balanced by a Red Hat acceleration, he said.
Morgan Stanley (MS) continued the trend of mostly better than expected reports from the big banks as its Q3 adjusted EPS and revenue beat expectations, sending its shares up 1.5%.
Meanwhile, Juul Labs, which is 35%-owned by Altria (MO), announced that it has suspended the sale of its non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors in the U.S., pending FDA review.
Additionally, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Aramco has delayed the launch of its initial public offering, putting the November timeline for the flotation in jeopardy.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Assembly Biosciences (ASMB), which rose 22% after the company released abstract data to be presented at AASLD that Baird analyst Brian Skorney called encouraging. Also higher was Limelight Networks (LLNW), which gained 20.2% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Syros Pharmaceuticals (SYRS), which fell 31.1% after it stopped development of intravenous CDK7 inhibitor SY-1365. Also lower was Extraction Oil & Gas (XOG), which fell 7.6% after Imperial Capital analyst Irene Haas downgraded the stock to Underperform from Outperform with a price target of $2, down from $7.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 23.90, or 0.089%, to 27,025.88, the Nasdaq gained 32.67, or 0.40%, to 8,156.85, and the S&P 500 advanced 8.26, or 0.28%, to 2,997.95.