The Past Week Stock Market Results
October 29, 2012

The Past Week:Correction Still In Progress!

The Stock Market: Experienced A Rough Week!

Poor Earnings Reflect Price Action!

by Ian Harvey

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October 27, 2012

Introduction

It was a very rough week in the stock market, as the S&P 500 cracked the widely watched support at 1,420 on Tuesday. Prices closed the past week just above the next key support in the 1,395 to 1,400 area. Friday's close was mixed, as the major averages moved in and out of positive territory for much of the day.

The action in the past week clearly did some technical damage, and it has now been six weeks since the September 14 highs. The decline from the early April highs lasted nine weeks and took the S&P 500 9.8% down from its highs. A similar decline would last until well after the election, and the same percentage decline could take the S&P as low as 1,322, but I do not think that is likely.

Futures were sharply lower Friday of the past week, ahead of the GDP report, but rallied in early trading before the sellers again took over. The short-term analysis suggests a near-term low is likely for the week ahead, if the futures did not make their lows early Friday.

The December S&P 500 E-Mini futures hit a low of 1,394.50 before the GDP report of the past week, which was still above the 38.2% support level at 1384.50. The Dow Industrials have just tested their 38.2% Fibonacci support level at 13,041, which makes it a pretty normal correction so far.

Still, the correction has gone further than many expected. Last Tuesday's drop indicated an expectation of another push to the upside before the election, but this was not to be. The earnings reports, and more importantly, the increasingly negative corporate outlook, have turned the mood on the Street quite negative.

While the price action in some stocks has been quite ugly, the stock market is not yet that oversold. It will likely take a more broad-based drop before it can form a short-term oversold low. Typically, such a low is needed before we can actively start looking for an end to the correction.

The U.S. stocks slumped this past week, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index heading toward its first monthly decline since May, due mainly to companies from 3M Co. to DuPont Co. reported disappointing quarterly results and forecasts. Of the 273 S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly earnings results, about 59 percent missed analysts’ estimates for sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Almost 72 percent topped projections for earnings, the data show. Concern about a worsening picture for corporate results has sent the S&P 500 down 3.7 percent from this year’s high on Sept. 14. The index is still up 12 percent in 2012.

Even with equities falling, the Federal Reserve said the economy is still growing modestly and unemployment remains elevated as the central bank maintains $40 billion in monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Outside the U.S., a survey in the past week showed a contraction in China’s manufacturing is easing and investors speculated the Bank of Japan will expand monetary stimulus next week.

Investors are also watching the U.S. presidential race. The latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll showed Republican Mitt Romney with 49 percent support among likely voters and President Barack Obama with 48 percent support, a result within the survey’s three percentage point margin of error.

Investors sold shares of companies most tied to economic growth this past week. Raw-material producers fell the most out of 10 groups in the S&P 500, losing 2.8 percent. Energy stocks slumped 2.4 percent for the second-largest drop. The Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index, a gauge of 30 U.S. stocks, erased 1.1 percent.

An S&P index of 11 homebuilders slumped 3.7 percent after a disappointing report on pending home resales in the past week.


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• The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) ended the past week down 1.8%.
The Dow is down 2.5% for the month.

• The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) was down 1.5% to 1,411.94 for the past week. The benchmark gauge for U.S. equities has retreated 2 percent in October, indicating it will end four straight months of gains.
The SPX is down 2% for the month.

• The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) fell 0.6% in the past week.
The Nasdaq is down 4.1% for the month.

However, despite the declines, the Dow is up 7.3% for the year, while the S&P 500 has gained 12.3%. The Nasdaq is up 14.7%

DuPont (DD) was the biggest weekly laggard on the Dow, while Intel (INTC)was the best performer.

The Markets Ending October 26, 2012


The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 17.06) ), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the stock market, lost 0.3 point, or 1.7% on Friday of the past week, and gave up its short-lived perch atop the 18 level, though its 200-day moving average continued to offer support. As the equities markets turned lower for the week, the VIX jumped 4.4%.


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Summary of the Past Week

Monday, October 22

Stocks rebounded completely from sharp mid-afternoon declines today after construction-equipment-maker Caterpillar (CAT) cut its outlook for the second time this year, warning the global economy was slowing faster than it had expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was briefly down as many as 108 points before new buying set in -- and then accelerated. The index had been held back by weakness in General Electric (GE), Microsoft (MSFT) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM).

Technology shares, however, were mostly higher, led by Apple (AAPL), which is expected to unveil a new mini-iPad on Tuesday. The company also reports fiscal-fourth-quarter results after Thursday's close.

Yahoo (YHOO) shares were up 73 cents, or 4.6%, to $16.50 after hours. New CEO Marissa Mayer cheered analysts by saying she wants the company to have a coherent mobile advertising strategy. Plus, she wants to focus the company around "daily habits" of users such as email, the home page, Internet search and mobile devices.

The Dow closed up 2 points to 13,346. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) was up 1 point to 1,434, while the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) moved up 11 points to 3,017. The Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) gained 16 points to 2,695. Apple, the biggest influence on the index, was up $24.19 to $634.03.

The trigger for the rebound appears to have been technical. The Dow and S&P 500 both fell below their simple 50-day moving averages and promptly bounced higher, probably because computerized trades automatically kicked in. The 50-day moving average is a key measure of investor confidence.

Tuesday, October 23

Stocks slumped today as more companies reported lower-than-expected revenue and cut earnings guidance. The drubbing sent the Dow Jones industrials (DJI) to its second loss of more than 200 points in three sessions and set off worries that the pullback is a signal of a weakening economy ahead.

The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) closed below 3,000 for the first time since Aug. 6. Apple (AAPL) shares slid after the company announced its new iPad Mini tablet device would be priced at $329. Many investors were hoping for a $299 price, arguing it would sell better at a lower price.

The Dow closed down 243 points to 13,103. The blue chips had been down as many as 263 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) was off 21 points to 1,413. The Nasdaq dropped 27 points to 2,990.

The Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) fell 29 points to 2,666. Apple was down $20.67 to $613.36.

The worst Dow loss since June

The Dow's loss was its worst since June 21, and it was the first time since late November 2011 there were two 200-point losses in three days. (The S&P and Nasdaq had larger losses on Friday.)

How much more the market will drop is not clear. The S&P 500 has broken below its trend line since the June 4 market bottom, a bearish signal. The Nasdaq came close to -- but did not drop below -- its 200-day moving average of 2,970, suggesting there is buyer support at that level.

At the same time, forces are building within the market that could stabilize matters, assuming the economy cooperates. The relative strength indexes for the Dow and S&P 500 are nearing 30. The Nasdaq's RSI was at 27 today. The index measures the current price against results over a set period of time, in this case, over 14 sessions. A reading below 30 suggests an index or security is oversold. (Apple's RSI was 31.84.)

Wednesday, October 24

Stocks fell modestly today even after the Federal Reserve said it still expects to maintain low interest rates at least into 2015. The central bank also said it will continue to buy in billions of dollars of securities each month to boost the economy.

Wall Street expected the move. The stock market's decline was due to continuing concerns about global and domestic growth and earnings worries. The effect of today's move will be to keep U.S. interest rates low for the foreseeable future. Perhaps chief among the rates for now: mortgage rates. Bankrate.com said the rate on a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.46% today.

The market's late-day decline came after stocks were slammed Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) suffering its worst one-day loss since June. Facebook's (FB) results late Tuesday cheered investors. So did earnings and guidance from Panera Bread (PNRA) and Boeing (BA). But Netflix (NFLX) slumped from weak guidance. Energy stocks struggled as oil and natural gas prices have moved lower.

The Dow closed down 25 points to 13,077. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) dropped 4 points to 1,409. The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) had fallen 9 points to 2,982 while the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) was down 10 points to 2,656.

Apple (AAPL), the biggest influence on the Nasdaq-100, was up $3.47 to $616.83. The company introduced its iPad Mini tablet on Tuesday and reports fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings after Thursday's close.


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Thursday, October 25

Apple (AAPL) shares briefly fell below $600 after hours as the company's earnings of $8.67 a share missed Wall Street estimates of $8.75. The issue seems to be a shortfall of iPad production. Revenue was up 27% to $35.97 billion, slightly ahead of estimates.

The shares had fallen $7.29 to $609.54 in regular trading and fell to as low as $597 after hours -- trading was briefly halted -- before rebounding to $607.75, down $1.79, at 6:07 p.m. ET. Apple hasn't closed below $600 since July 30. Apple shipped 26.9 million iPhones in its fiscal fourth quarter, a bit more than expected, but iPad shipments were 14 million, lower than expected.

Amazon.com (AMZN) shares were down as much as $20 after hours before buying brought the stock back to $220, down from a regular close of $222.92. The company reported a revenue miss and a larger-than-expected earnings loss.

The results came after stocks moved modestly higher today, breaking a two-day losing streak as earnings from energy and health care companies gave the market a boost. But the Apple and Amazon results seem certain to weigh on stocks on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrials (DJI) closed up 26 points to 13,104; the blue chips had been up as many as 87 points early in the day. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) gained 4 points to 1,413, while the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) was up 4 points to 2,986. The Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) climbed 2 points to 2,658.

Market struggles to get past a rumor

The market opened strongly but spent most of the day around break-even on a rumor that Fitch Ratings would be downgrading U.S. debt. That took the Dow from a gain of about 30 points to a loss of 37 points in a matter of minutes. But a Fitch spokesman told Bloomberg News and CNBC that the agency doesn't expect to address the nation's debt rating until late 2013.

A second problem weighed on markets: Americans signed fewer contracts than forecast in August to buy previously owned homes. European stocks were lower, and the dollar was rising against the euro.

Friday, October 26

Stocks ended the day little changed, but the major averages finished lower for the second week in the last three.

The market gained strength from technology stocks, which rebounded from early-afternoon lows.

Apple (AAPL) was the poster child for the rebound, falling below $600 for the first time since July 30 and climbing from a $591 low to a close of $604, a loss of $5.54.The company's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings missed Street estimates and its guidance was also lower than expected.

Investors also bid shares of Amazon.com (AMZN) up $15.32 to $238.24 despite the company's loss for its third quarter. Investors are buying into the company's assurances that huge investments now will pay off later.

Financial stocks slipped as investors worried about economic conditions in Europe --Spain's unemployment rate hit 25% -- and the fiscal-cliff impact in the United States. There was some decent news: a better-than-expected third-quarter gain in gross domestic product, the key indicator of economic growth. GDP growth was an annualized 2%, the Commerce Department said, fueled by gains in consumer spending and housing investment.

The Dow Jones industrials (DJI) closed up 4 points at 13,107. The blue chips had been down as many as 64 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) ended down 1 point to 1,412, but the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) was up 2 points to 2,988.

The Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) added 8 points to 2,666. The catalysts included Apple's recovery and Amazon's big gain as well as a big jump in earnings for online travel site Expedia (EXPE). The shares jumped $7.81 to $59.06.

Apple represents about 17% of the market capitalization of the index. Amazon also has a smaller but noticeable influence on the index.


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Sector Performance for the Past Week

The iShares Dow Jones Transportation (IYT) was lower in the past week, but is one of the few industry groups holding well above the lows from three weeks ago. It still needs a decisive close above $94 to turn positive.

Two of the funds in the Select Sector SPDR ETFs which were down the most from the highs made in the past month or so, were the Select Sector SPDR Materials (XLB) and Select Sector SPDR Energy XLE, which dropped 5.7% and 6.3% from the recent highs. These two funds had looked quite interesting last month, and continued strength in emerging markets should boost these sectors.

The Select Sector SPDR Materials (XLB) broke through its downtrend (line a) in September, but has since turned lower, closing the past week on its 20-week ’Exponential Moving Average’ (EMA). It is still holding above the 50% support at $35.57, with key chart support in the $35 area.

The relative performance looks like it is trying to bottom, as the long-term downtrend (line b) has been broken. It shows good support (line c), but needs to surpass the prior two highs to signal a bottom.

The OBV is trying to base but has key resistance now at line d. The weekly resistance to watch is at $38.10.

The Select Sector SPDR Energy XLE dropped below its 20-week EMA in the past week, but closed well above it at the end. It is retesting the breakout level (line e) from September. It is trying to hold the 38.2% support at $71.12, with the 50% retracement support nearby at $69.19.

The weekly relative performance is holding above its WMA, and a turn higher this week would be a positive sign. The on-balance volume (OBV) broke through its resistance (line g) in July, and is holding just above its WMA. This is a sign that the selling pressure on the decline has not been too heavy. There is weekly resistance now at $75.20.


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Crude Oil in the Past Week

The December crude oil dropped below the key 61.8% support level at $87.40 that we have been watching. There is some support in the $83 to $84 area, but a test of the lows at $79 cannot be ruled out.

Precious Metals in the Past Week

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), iShares Gold Trust (IAU), iShares Silver Trust (SLV), and Global X Silver Miners (SIL) all bounced late in the past week after hitting new correction lows earlier.

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is holding above the 38.2% 'Fibonacci support’ at $164.21, with the daily uptrend (line b) now at $163.30. The 50% retracement support is at $161.17.

The daily on-balance volume (OBV) is still below its WMA, but the bounce could be the start of the bottoming process. However, one more new correction low is likely.


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Company News and Earnings in the Past Week

Earnings Effects on the Stock Market in the Past Week

All 10 groups in the S&P 500 fell at least 0.8 percent for the past week. DuPont (DD) tumbled 8.4 percent after saying it will eliminate about 1,500 jobs amid a smaller-than-estimated profit. 3M (MMM) (MNST) plunged 5.3 percent as it reduced its full-year projection. Monster Beverage Corp. slid 14 percent after U.S. regulators confirmed reports that the company’s energy drinks were cited in five deaths. Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) rose 6 percent after Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer outlined her turnaround strategy.

The string of earnings disappointments are likely to last for a few more weeks, with Amazon.com (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) the latest companies to disappoint the markets with their earnings last Thursday.

The markets interpreted their earnings much differently. On midday Friday, AMZN was up 3.6%, while AAPL was down 2.6%.

Even though the tech sector has dropped more than I expected, it is still holding above important support, which will need to be watched in the coming weeks. There were some bright spots in the past week, such as Expedia (EXPE), which surged over 10% Friday in reaction to its strong earnings.

As the US stock market has dropped for the past month, the emerging markets-especially China-have done quite well. Since September 14, when the Spyder Trust (SPY) peaked, the large-cap iShares MSCI China Index Fund (MCHI) is up 3.8%, while the SPY is down 4.7%.

Company News and Earnings in the Past Week


Monday, October 22

Yahoo's Mayer cheers the Street

Yahoo reported earnings of 35 cents a share in the third quarter on an adjusted basis, up from 21 cents a year ago and 10 cents better than expected. Revenue less payments to partners was up 2% to $1.09 billion.

These results excluded a $2.8 billion gain related to the sale of Alibaba Group shares.

Mayer said Yahoo would work more closely with software provider and Web search partner Microsoft, while employing technology to shore up its display ads business through such features as automated buying. She added that Yahoo is likely to begin withdrawing from international businesses that fail to grow. This month, executives said the company will pull out of South Korea, a market full of local rivals. And she said that the company would primarily focus on "smaller-scale" deals to bolster Yahoo's products. That relieved some investors who feared the company could embark on an expensive shopping spree, Reuters said.

In regular trading, Yahoo finished down slightly to $15.77.

Texas Instruments struggles with slowing demand

Texas Instruments (TXN) shares were down 0.4% to $27.67 after hours. The chip maker said quarterly revenue fell as demand for its chips slipped on economic concerns. The company forecast more weakness in the fourth quarter.

"Across the board, we're seeing customers being extremely cautious, very careful about the level of inventory that they hold so giving us very low levels of visibility as to what they'll want to order for the quarter," TI CFO Kevin March told Reuters.

TI's chips are used in mobile devices, consumer electronics and industrial equipment. TI earned $784 million, or 67 cents a share, up from $601 million, or 51 cents, a year ago. Revenue fell to $3.39 billion from $3.47 billion.

TI forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 23 to 31 cents a share on revenue of $2.83 billion to $3.07 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $3.24 billion, Reuters said.

Caterpillar's guidance is a worry

Caterpillar reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit on a rebound in U.S. sales of heavy equipment. But the company offered a disappointing outlook.

The company doesn't expect to see overall economic growth until the second half of 2013. The U.S. economy should grow 2% next year (admittedly, an anemic rate), with construction producing much of the gains, the company said. It sees economic weakness across Europe. China should grow 8.5%, and Latin America will grow 4%.

The outlook was similar to what General Electric offered when it reported results on Friday.

For the third quarter, Caterpillar earned $1.7 billion, or $2.54 a share, up from $1.14 billion, or $1.71 per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 5% to $16.45 billion. Analysts had been looking for $16.77 billion. Excluding one-time charges, the company earned $2.26 a share, ahead of the consensus analyst estimate of $2.22.

For 2012, the company expects to earn $9 to $9.25 a share on sales of $66 billion. It had earlier projected $9.60 per share. The Street estimate was $9.40 with revenue of $67.64 billion.

Freeport-McMoRan, SunTrust slide on earnings misses

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), the world’s biggest publicly traded copper producer, was down 60 cents to $40.58, and SunTrust Banks (STI) fell 96 cents to $27.67 after reporting earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

Freeport's miss was its first in 17 quarters. The company cited higher costs and lower gold sales. CEO Richard Adkerson was a bit skeptical in a CNBC interview about whether Chinese demand will ramp up any time soon.

Peabody Energy (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, increased $3.06 to $28.95 after earnings beat analysts’ projections. The stock was the top performer in the S&P 500.

Ancestry.com (ACOM) surged $2.26 to $31.44, after Permira Advisers agreed to buy the company in a deal valued at about $1.6 billion.

Hasbro's (HAS) third-quarter net profit fell 3.6% as strong sales for My Little Pony and Marvel-related gear couldn't fully offset declines for Transformers, Beyblade and preschool gear. Still, the result beat Wall Street estimates, and Hasbro closed down 66 cents to $38.39.

Pfizer (PFE) agreed to acquire privately held NextWave Pharmaceuticals, a deal that includes the recently approved Quillivant XR — the first once-daily liquid treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The deal is worth as much as $700 million. Pfizer was down 16 cents to $25.60.

Russian energy giant Rosneft reached separate agreements to buy the entirety of oil venture TNK-BP from BP (BP) and a group of Soviet-born billionaires, an acquisition that promises to reshape the Russian oil industry. The deal is worth some $61 billion. BP was off 45 cents to $42.65 in New York.


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Tuesday, October 23

After the close, Facebook (FB) shares jumped $1.98, or 10.2%, to $21.13 after reporting that earnings of 12 cents a share after one-time expenses beat the Street estimate by a penny. Revenue of $1.26 billion was up 32% from a year ago and beat the Street estimate by $30 million. Shares were up 18 cents to $19.50 in regular trading.

But Netflix (NFLX) shares were down $11.22, or 16.3%, to $57.12 after hours as results from its video streaming business weren't as strong as expected and the company starts to produce original programming. Earnings fell to 13 cents a share from $1.16 a year ago. The company may see a fourth-quarter loss.

Also after the close, Panera Bread (PNRA) shares jumped $8.91, or 5.6%, to $169.25.

The company's third-quarter revenue and earnings beat estimates, and the company raised its earnings guidance to $1.72 to $1.74 a share for the fourth quarter, up from 41.60 to $1.70.

DuPont reports a profit fall, will lay off 1,500

DuPont reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and announced 1,500 job cuts to offset falling sales around the world. The news was a shock to investors, and shares tumbled $4.51 to $45.25 and pulled the materials sector of the S&P 500 nearly 3% lower. It was the worst-performer among the 30 Dow stocks and second-worst among S&P 500 stocks.

United Technologies reported a 3.3% decline in third-quarter earnings and cut its sales forecast for the year, citing weak demand from airlines and an uncertain economy. The report sent shares 76 cents lower to $77.07.

3M lost $3.80 to $88.73 after the diversified U.S. manufacturer cut its profit forecast for the full year as acquisition costs and a strengthening dollar during the quarter hurt margins. 3M generates more than 60% of its revenue outside the United States.

The three companies accounted for nearly 70 points of the decline on the Dow industrials. Declines in Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) -- because of falling oil prices -- contributed an additional 41 points to the Dow's loss.

Whirlpool (WHR) jumped $7.50 to $93.81 after reporting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by price increases and tight cost controls. The world's largest appliance maker also raised its earnings outlook for the year.

Yahoo (YHOO) shares were up 90 cents to $16.67. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s first earnings call appearance reignited Street interest in the beleaguered Web portal’s future. The company got a lift from its sale of Alibaba shares, but, to the surprise of some analysts, Yahoo’s core business also performed better than expected.

Wednesday, October 24

Facebook's big gain

Facebook surged $3.73 to $23.23 -- and reached as high as $24.25 -- after the social networking company grew mobile advertising revenue several times in the third quarter, a much quicker pace than expected.

Besides posting quarterly results that inched past Wall Street's expectations, the company said it generated nearly $153 million in revenue from mobile advertising.

That cheered investors, who have wondered if anyone can make money from ads sent to smartphones.

Panera sees a decent 2013

Panera Bread shares were up $8.09 to $168.43. The restaurant company's third-quarter results beat Street estimates. It also guided higher for 2013.

Panera's report contrasted with other high-growth chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), which disappointed investors with their recent results.

Chipotle fell 15% after it reported disappointing earnings last week. It was up $6.58 to $242.82 today. Buffalo Wild Wings was off $8.76 to $74.70 after it said higher costs will trim earnings.

Netflix struggles with streaming subscriptions

Netflix shares fell $8.10 to $60.12 after the DVD-rental and video-streaming company lowered its forecast for streaming subscribers for the year. It's the worst performer among S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 stocks.

Along with its latest quarterly results, released late Tuesday, Netflix said it now expects to end the year with between 26.4 million and 27.1 million streaming subscribers. That would give the company a gain of 4.7 million to 5.4 million subscribers this year. Netflix had earlier forecast a gain of 7 million subscribers.

Countrywide rears its head again for Bank of America

The federal government filed a civil lawsuit against Bank of America (BAC), alleging the banking giant's Countrywide subsidiary saddled taxpayers with losses by misrepresenting the quality of home loans it sold to mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). The suit says Countrywide engaged in "brazen fraud."

The action, filed today in New York City, seeks at least $1 billion in damages. The filing represents a novel effort by the government to defray costs tied to the 2008 bailout of Fannie and Freddie, and potentially opens a new front against a banking industry already dealing with hefty legal costs.

The government alleges Countrywide Financial, the mortgage company Bank of America acquired in 2008, dismembered quality control and checks on loan quality in 2007 through 2009, in a process called "the Hustle" that aimed to boost the speed at which it originated and sold loans to the companies. The mortgage unit falsely continued to claim the loans qualified for insurance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the complaint alleges.

Bank of America shares closed down 5 cents to $9.31. Bank officials have conceded that they wished they hadn't taken Countrywide over. The deal has resulted in endless litigation costs relating to the housing bust.

Boeing boosts its outlook

Boeing started the day strongly, but shares fell 11 cents to $72.71. The commercial jet and defense giant reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its full-year 2012 outlook. The shares had reached as high as $75. The outlook bucked a recent trend by companies with large global footprints cutting their full-year forecasts. These include DuPont (DD), United Technologies (UTX) and 3M (MMM).

AT&T (T) posted third-quarter revenue that was below analysts' expectations, but its earnings increased from a year earlier. Shares lost 29 cents to $34.71.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT) was down 103 points to 5,005 after Norfolk Southern (NSC) said quarterly profit fell on lower shipments of coal and merchandise. Its shares slumped $4.92 to $61.09. Shares of C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW), another component in the transportation index, fell $3.43 to $57.55.

After the close, shares of game-maker Zynga (ZNGA) jumped sharply. The company reported break-even earnings but also announced a $200 million stock buyback. Software company Symantec (SYMC) also rallied strongly as earnings beat estimates.


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Thursday, October 25

A lackluster report from Apple

Apple normally blasts past analyst estimates. But today's results were only good. The 26.9 million iPhone shipments were up 58% from a year ago and ahead of estimates. The iPad shipments, while up 26% from a year ago, were below the 15 million to 16 million units expected.

Macintosh computer shipments were up 1% to 4.9 million units. IPod shipments fell 19% to just 5.3 million units.

The company expects $52.6 billion in revenue for the all-important fiscal first quarter, which includes the holiday season.

With the regular close of $609.54, Apple is off 13.2% from its closing peak of $702.10 on Sept. 19.

Amazon: Trying to get as close to break-even as possible

Amazon shares were down only 94 cents before the earnings release came out.

The company continued to invest in new fulfillment centers and new operating technologies at the expense of profits.

"Our approach is to work hard to charge less. Sell devices near break-even, and you can pack a lot of sophisticated hardware into a very low price point," CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

While the company did not cite the global economy, it projected $20.5 billion to $22.75 billion in revenue, lower than the Street estimate is $22.8 billion. Its operating loss could be as much as $490 million; the upper end of the range was a profit of $310 million. Operating income in the year-ago fourth quarter was $260 million.

Amazon lost $274 million, or 60 cents a share, in the third quarter, down from a profit of $63 million, or 14 cents a share. Stripping out a one-time charge for its LivingSocial business produced an adjusted loss of 23 cents. Wall Street had expected 8 cents.

Revenue was up 27% to $13.8 billion. Wall Street had expected $13.92 billion.

Separately, Bloomberg News reported this afternoon that Apple may launch an Internet radio service in the first quarter of 2013. Pandora Media (P) and Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) were both lower.

P&G's turnaround plan may be working

Procter & Gamble was up $1.99 to $70.07. The consumer-products giant said fiscal-first-quarter profits fell 7% on a stronger dollar and costs related to restructuring. The results, however, beat Street expectations in a sign that a turnaround plan that it started in the spring is beginning to work.

P&G announced a plan to focus on its 40 top businesses, 20 biggest new products and 10 most profitable emerging markets as it undergoes a cost-cutting plan aimed at saving $10 billion by fiscal 2016.

The maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers said today that it's ahead of schedule with its planned job cuts, and that it might consider going beyond its $10 billion cost-cutting plan.

P&G was the top performer among the 30 Dow stocks. Boeing, Travelers Companies (TRV) and Home Depot (HD) were the big weights on the index.

Friday, October 26

Citigroup shares slide on news hits

Citigroup (C) shares fell 81 cents to $36.60 after technology analyst Mark Mahaney was reportedly fired because he improperly disclosed revenue estimates on Google's (GOOG) YouTube business. At the same time, Citigroup agreed to a $2 million fine imposed by Massachusetts regulators after a junior analyst emailed two employees at a technology website seeking feedback on a Facebook (FB) document containing a senior analyst’s views and estimates.

At the same time, The New York Times reported that Vikram Pandit's departure as CEO on Oct. 15 was hardly his choice. Instead, he was offered the choice of resigning immediately or at the end of the year. Or being fired immediately.

The coup was orchestrated by Chairman Michael O'Neill, who became increasingly convinced Pandit, who wasn't a banker by training, was the wrong person for the job. Probably what tipped the issue was in March when the Federal Reserve denied Citigroup permission to raise its dividend.

Merck shares slip; Moody's jumps

Shares of pharmaceutical giant Merck (MRK -0.32%) were off 15 cents to $46.15. The company said its third-quarter profit rose 2% to $1.76 billion, or 56 cents a share, from $1.72 billion, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted profit edged up to 95 cents a share from 94 cents. Sales fell 4% to $11.5 billion from $12 billion. But the strong dollar depressed non-U.S.results. Excluding the currency effect, sales were comparable to year-ago levels.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) slumped by $1.28 to $11.02 after the company said weak demand in Europe held earnings back. Dealers on the continent are still working through excess winter tire inventory from last year.

Cable-and-broadcast operator Comcast (CMCSA) added $1.20 to $37.56. The majority owner of NBC said third-quarter profit more than doubled, boosted by advertising revenue, the sale of assets and a decrease in the loss of subscribers.

Moody's (MCO) added $2.17 to $47.89 after saying profit increased by 41% as companies took advantage of record investor demand and low borrowing costs by issuing debt.

Software developer CA (CA) fell $2.17 to $22.73. The company said it sees a 1% to 3% decline in full-year growth after it adjusted for currency fluctuations, down from a prior estimate of 1% to 2% growth. CA cited a 14% decline in second-quarter bookings due to lower sales in its enterprise solutions unit and lower mainframe capacity revenue.

Deckers Outdoor (DECK) tumbled $6.01 to $29.48 after cutting its forecast for annual sales growth by almost two-thirds amid declining demand for its UGG sheepskin boots.


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Economic News in the Past Week

U.S. economic growth picked up in the third quarter as a late burst in consumer spending and a surprise turnaround in government outlays offset the first drop in business investment in more than a year.

The stronger pace of expansion, however, fell short of what is needed to make much of a dent in unemployment, and it offers little cheer for the White House ahead of the closely contested Nov. 6 election.

The 2% GDP gain was an improvement over the second quarter's 1.3% pace. A rate in excess of 2.5% is needed over several quarters to make substantial headway in cutting the jobless rate.

The report was a bit better than economists had expected, in part because of a surge in government defense spending that was not expected to last. That combined with the faster pace of household spending and a jump in homebuilding to strengthen domestic demand.

The better than expected GDP report on Friday of the past week surprised many, and helped prop up a sinking stock market. The 27% increase in new home sales gave the GDP a boost, but as the long-term chart shows they are still well below the peak from just a few years ago.

Meanwhile, consumer sentiment rose to 82.6 in October, hitting its highest level in five years, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index. The index was at 78.3 in September. Still, the reading was slightly below the preliminary reading of 83.1 and shy of expectations for 83.

Overseas Influences in the Past Week

In the past week, the Eurozone crisis continued to fester. While the economic data showed more deterioration, as Spanish unemployment reached 25%, German consumer confidence hit a new five-year high.

It is interesting that despite the selling in the US stock market, the Euro STOXX 50 Index is still in its broad trading range. This suggests that the overseas markets may lead the US once the correction is over.


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The Price to Earnings Ratio from 1900

The chart below illustrates the price to earnings ratio (PE ratio) from 1900 to present. Generally speaking, when the PE ratio is high, stocks are considered to be expensive. When the PE ratio is low, stocks are considered to be inexpensive.

From 1900 into the mid-1990s, the PE ratio tended to peak in the low to mid-20s (red line) and trough somewhere around seven (green line). The price investors were willing to pay for a dollar of earnings increased during the dot-com boom (late 1990s), surged even higher during the dot-com bust (early 2000s), and spiked to extraordinary levels during the financial crisis (late 2000s).

Since the early 2000s, the PE ratio has been trending lower with the very significant but relatively brief exception that was the financial crisis.

More recently, the PE ratio has moved slightly higher. It is worth noting, however, that even with this recent uptick, the PE ratio still remains at a level not often seen since 1990.

Chart of the S&P 500 PE Ratio


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The NYSE in the Past Week

The daily chart of the broad-based NYSE Composite NYSE continues to act the best, as it is just testing its uptrend from the June lows (line a). The next key support is at 8,022, which is the 38.2% Fibonacci support. It is about 2% below Friday's close. The more important 50% retracement support is considerably lower at 7,869, and the longer-term uptrend follows that at 7,400.

The NYSE Advance/Decline (A/D) line has reversed after moving above the early October highs, and is now very close to breaking support at the lows from the last month. There is more important support now at line c. The A/D line is still well above the longer-term uptrend (line d), and did confirm the September highs.


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Sentiment in the Past Week

The bearish sentiment did not show much increase in the past week, from either individual investors or financial newsletter writers. The put/call readings and VIX analysis also suggest that stocks can still drop further.

The first decent rally will tell us more about the downside targets, but it would take a close below 1,370 (the 50% support) in the S&P 500 to weaken the positive intermediate-term outlook.

The Major ETFs in the Past Week

**A more detailed report can be obtained by ……CLICKING HERE…..**


Other Articles Relating to the Week Ahead

1. The Economy and Earnings in the Week Ahead – October 29, 2012

2. The Week Ahead in the Stock Market – October 29, 2012

3. The Major ETFs in the Week Ahead – October 29, 2012

4. Companies Reporting Earnings in the Week Ahead - October 29, 2012


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