U.S. stocks fall as Alcoa slumps amid corporate earnings concern

Monster Beverage

Monster Beverage Corp. erased 5 percent to $53.91. The largest U.S. energy drink maker by sales volume was cut to hold from buy by Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Mark Astrachan, who cited greater-than-anticipated deceleration in revenue growth through the first quarter.

Cummins Inc. slid 3.7 percent to $87.46. The maker of engines said it expects to cut as many as 1,500 jobs by the end of 2012 and lowered its forecasts for revenue and profit. Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker, fell 2.4 percent to $82.73.

MetroPCS Communications Inc. sank 3.6 percent to $12.06. Sprint Nextel Corp. is holding off on an immediate counterbid for MetroPCS to gain time to scrutinize the carrier’s planned combination with T-Mobile USA Inc., said people familiar with the situation.

Wal-Mart rose 2.7 percent, the most in the Dow, to a record $76.12 after the world’s largest retailer said in an investor community meeting it had a “very strong” back-to-school season that will continue into the holiday period. The company also said it will add 205 U.S. locations in 2013 and 240 in 2014. McDonald’s Corp., the biggest restaurant chain, gained 0.9 percent to $92.94.

‘Beacon of Light’

Costco Wholesale Corp. added 2.9 percent to $102.53. The largest U.S. warehouse-club chain posted fiscal fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as low prices drove sales. Earnings in the quarter ended Aug. 31 were $1.39 a share. Analysts projected $1.31, the average of 25 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Third-quarter earnings at the eight food and consumer- staples retailers in the S&P 500 increased 8 percent, according to analysts’estimates.

“One should look toward consumer companies as a beacon of light for improved earnings in this quarter, but the overall theme that will be echoed from management will be of a more conservative nature,” Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $138 billion in client assets, said by phone. “It’s going to be a deceleration from previous quarters.”

Yum jumped 8.3 percent to $71.16. The owner of the Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains reported a 23 percent increase in third-quarter net income as sales climbed in the U.S. and China. Profit excluding some items was 99 cents a share, compared with the 97 cent average of 22 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple Rebounds

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, climbed 0.9 percent to $641.71 after four straight losses that extended the iPad maker’s retreat from a record high on Sept. 19. to 9.4 percent.

FedEx Corp. rose 4.4 percent to $89.31 after setting a goal to boost profit by $1.7 billion within three years, primarily by cutting costs, as customers shift to slower and cheaper deliveries from overnight shipments.

True Religion Apparel Inc. surged 23 percent to $25.75. The maker of the namesake designer jeans said it will explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The board has formed a special committee to consider options after receiving interest from third parties about a possible transaction, Vernon, California-based True Religion said today in a statement.

Bloomberg News

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