U.S. Stocks Slip Amid Corporate Earnings, Biotech Shares Retreat

US. stocks slipped from two-month highs as disappointing results from IBM coupled with a selloff in biotechnology shares to overshadow better-than-estimated earnings at United Technologies Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.

The S&P 500 declined 0.1 percent to 2,031.06 at 4 p.m. in New York, after earlier rising to its average price during the past 100 days for the first time since August. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.5 percent as biotechnology shares slumped.

A report today showed new-home construction climbed more than forecast in September to the second-highest level in eight years, propelled mainly by gains in work on multifamily homes, such as apartment buildings. The probability of a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase this month is now only 6 percent, and about 32 percent for December. March is the first month for which traders price in at least even odds of a boost.

San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said yesterday that the central bank is making progress toward fulfilling its dual mandate of stable prices and maximum employment and should raise interest rates in the near future.

Source: Bloomberg

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Nasdaq Composite Slumps Amid Renewed Selling in Biotech Shares

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell amid renewed selling in biotechnology shares, and as EBay Inc. led declines among technology stocks.

Equities paused again Thursday near levels where recent rallies have wavered, as biotechnology shares erased yesterday’s bounce. The Nasdaq 100 Index was dragged 0.9 percent lower as EBay headed for its worst drop in four years amid disappointing sales. Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. lost more than 1.2 percent. Raw-materials extended their longest rally since 2013, and industrials advanced for a second day.

Nasdaq Composite lost 0.7 percent to 4,755.98 at at 11:54 a.m. in New York, trimming its gain this year to 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent to 1,993.47, lingering near a seven-week high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 10.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,923.01.

Investors will look to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 16-17 meeting later today for better insight into the central bank’s choice to not raise rates last month. The decisiby citing global market turmoil and a slowdown in China as reasons for standing pat. Equities slid in seven of eight sessions after the meeting, with the S&P 500 losing 5.7 percent.

Biotechnology and energy companies led the gains yesterday with the latter extending their longest rally since 2013. The sectors have been two of the most turbulent in recent weeks, and their gains have helped lead to the longest streak of volatility declines since February 2014.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index rose 1.4 percent Thursday to 18.64, threatening to snap its seven-day slide. The measure of market turbulence known as the VIX fell Wednesday to its lowest since August 19.

Corporate profits will be another barometer on the economy’s health, and Alcoa unofficially kicks off the quarterly reporting season after markets close today. Analysts project earnings for S&P 500 members

dropped 6.9 percent in the third quarter. Companies releasing results next week include Johnson & Johnson, Intel Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Among the S&P 500’s 10 main industries, health-care and technology shares declined the most, off at least 0.5 percent, while utilities and raw-materials were the best performers. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index slumped 2.7 percent, paring an earlier 3.5 percent slide.

EBay Inc. weighed on the tech group, falling 7.1 percent and headed toward its biggest drop since 2011. The online marketplace’s September same-store sales growth was 1.1 percent, the lowest since February 2011 and down from August’s 3.4 percent, according to ChannelAdvisor.

EMC Corp. rose 4.6 percent to offset some of eBay’s drag. Dell Inc. is in talks to combine with EMC, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a deal that would help the companies cater to more customers and cope with a slowdown in demand for computers and storage equipment.

Source: Bloomberg

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