U.S. stocks advance after S&P 500 rally amid debt-ceiling talks

Financial Reports

With few economic reports available during the shutdown, investors are watching financial reports as more companies release third-quarter results. Profits for companies in the S&P 500 probably increased 1.7% during the three months while sales rose 2.2%, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The projections are down from 5.7% and 3.6%, respectively, from the end of June.

JPMorgan rose 0.6% to $52.82. The bank reported its first quarterly loss under Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon after taking a $7.2 billion charge for legal expenses. Earnings on an adjusted basis still beat analysts’ estimates.

Safeway Inc., the second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain, rose 5% to $33.14. The company reported yesterday after markets closed that identical-store sales will rise as much as 1.9% this year. Safeway also said it will leave Chicago by selling its stores there.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo slipped 1.7% to $40.73. The largest U.S. home lender said third-quarter profit climbed 13% to a record as fewer loan defaults and lower expenses helped overcome weakness in mortgage lending.

Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan, 53, told analysts last month that mortgage originations and profit margins on selling home loans would fall in the third quarter. Borrowers were discouraged as interest rates rose amid speculation that the Federal Reserve would pare its efforts to stimulate the economy with low rates.

Potash Corp. fell 1.5% to $31.28. The company said yesterday third-quarter earnings will be about 41 cents a share after customers deferred purchases amid predictions that prices for its main product will slump. In July, it predicted profit of 45 cents to 60 cents. The average of 27 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for 47 cents, excluding one-time items.

Micron Technology Inc., the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, fell 3% to $17.87 even as the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Following the report, Wells Fargo lowered its recommendation on the shares to underperform, or sell, from market perform, or hold, citing valuation. The stock has almost tripled this year.


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