Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) dipped lower this morning after a slew of economic reports left investors jittery about the economy. Some positive earnings reports softened the blow, however.
Among the economic reports that left Wall Street with mixed feelings include
- In September, wholesale prices made a surprise drop thanks to lower energy costs. The Producer Price Index declined 0.6%, but economists were expecting a flat reading. In the year ending September, the index fell 4.8%, reports the Associated Press.
- Applications for hosing permits fell by the largest amount in five months in September. The applications help gauge future housing activity. Some suspect that the drop came amid concerns that Congress wouldn’t continue its tax credit for first-time homebuyers, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB) is down about 1.2% this morning.
Earnings reports this morning were mostly better than expectations despite some losses:
- Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) announced that its profit declined 53% in the third quarter. But the equipment maker is already looking ahead, saying that it expects its prospects to improve next year as the economy strengthens, reports the Associated Press. There are already signs of growing demand in Asia, and Caterpillar generates 70% of its sales overseas. PowerShares Global Emerging Markets Infrastructure (NYSEArca: PXR) is down about 1.5% this morning.
- Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) saw its third-quarter profits move high, but sales took a hit from falling consumer purchases of carbonated beverages. The amount of soda shipped grew 2%, but fell 4% in North America.
- Drugmaker Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) reported a profit, thanks to cost-cutting that made up for declining sales. The company intends to keep cutting costs because it has the biggest drug industry deal of the year: a $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Pharmaceuticals (NYSEArca: IHE) is down about 1% this morning.
Oil prices briefly topped $80 a barrel this morning, but retreated as soon as the dollar began to strengthen against the euro. It was the first time in a year that oil topped $80, reports the Associated Press.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.