New York Manufacturers See Grim Future
Monday's economic data did little to improve the mood. The Empire State (New York) manufacturing index indicated further contraction in the state for the fifth straight month in October. The reading on new orders, however, was up slightly to 0.16 from -8.0 last month. This is the highest level new orders have been at since spring, but the state's manufacturing plants indicated a worsening outlook in business conditions over the next six months to a level not seen since early 2009.
S&P 500 (Figure 2)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) ended the day on Monday with a loss of 247.49 points, or 2.13%, and closed at 11,397.00. All thirty of the Dow's index components posted a loss. The top performers were AT&T (T) (-0.51%), Exxon Mobil (XOM) (-0.82%), and Intel (INTC) (-0.94%). The weakest were Alcoa (AA) (-6.63%), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) (-4.79%), 3M (MMM) (-3.82%).
The S&P 500 ($SPX) finished the session with a loss of 23.72 points, or 1.94%, and closed at 1,200.86. Only thirty-four issues ended the session in the black. The top individual percentage performer in the index was El Paso Corp. (EP) (+24.81%) on news that Kinder Morgan intends to purchase the company for $20.7 billion. It's gains were followed by Anadarko Pete. Corp. (APC) (+5.48%), and Walgreen (WAG) (+2.70%). The weakest were Pulte Group (PHM) (-9.48%), Gannett Inc. (GCI) (-8.68%), Wells Fargo (WFC) (-8.44%), and Halliburton (HAL) (-7.88%). Wells Fargo (WFC), the fourth-largest U.S. bank, surprised investors by missing earnings estimates by a penny a share. Halliburton's (HAL) losses came even after the company posted better-than-expected earnings. In recent years the company has seen tremendous growth in demand for natural gas from U.S. shale rock, which has also been surrounded by a great deal of controversy due to the levels of methane emitted by the gas, as well as the chemicals used in the fracturing process to release the gas.
The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session lower by 52.93 points, or 1.98%, on Monday and it closed at 2,614.92. The strongest performers in the Nasdaq-100 ($NDX) were Sears Holdings (SHLD) (+1.41%), Netflix (NFLX) (+1.11%), and Costco (COST) (+0.72%). The weakest performer was Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) (-10.41%) after fund manager David Einhorn expressed a negative bias for the stock, which had more than tripled this year by the time it hit last month's highs. Other top decliners included Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) (-7.37%), Research In Motion (RIMM) (-6.55%), and Cerner Corp. (CERN) (-5.92%).