Market Wrap: Stocks Slip on Rate Uncertainty, Earnings

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Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP
By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday on uncertainty over the U.S. rate outlook and disappointing results from Ford and other companies.

Upbeat results from Apple after hours, however, could give the market a boost Wednesday.

Shares of Apple (AAPL), the biggest company by market capitalization, rose 2.8 percent to $116.89 after it reported higher-than-expected earnings and revenue. Apple's stock ended the regular session down 0.6 percent at $114.55.

Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures also edged up after Apple's results.

"Both earnings and revenues were above expectations, which I think was well embraced based on the fact that a lot of companies have been struggling on the top line," said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Co., which owns Apple shares.

Also after the bell, shares of Twitter (TWTR) dropped 11 percent to $27.89 after it reported results. Twitter's stock ended the regular session up 1.5 percent at $31.34.

During the regular session, Ford (F) dropped 5 percent to $14.89 after quarterly results missed expectations, while JetBlue Airways (JBLU) fell 3.2 percent to $25.36 after it said it will make less money per mile in October than it did a year ago.

Shares of other airlines also fell, and the Dow Jones transportation average dropped 2.6 percent.

The Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting Tuesday. While expectations for a rate hike this week are slim, investors are looking for clues in its policy statement Wednesday as to when the Fed will begin to raise interest rates.

That's going to be parsed every way possible," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Casting more doubts on whether the Fed will raise rates this year, data showed U.S. non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, slipped last month after a downwardly revised decline in August.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 41.62 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,581.43, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 5.29 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,065.89 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 4.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,030.15.

Movers and Shakers

Alibaba (BABA) rose 4 percent to $79.44 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. After the bell, shares of Twitter dropped after it reported results. Twitter (TWTR) stock ended the regular session up 1.5 percent.

Declines in crude oil weighed further on energy shares, and the S&P energy index, down 1.2 percent, led sector declines for the S&P 500.

Health care was only one of two S&P 500 sectors to end in positive territory for the day. The index was up 1.7 percent after better-than-expected earnings from top drugmakers Pfizer and Merck. Pfizer (PFE) was up 2.4 percent at $34.99 and Merck (MRK) was up 1.1 percent at $53.47.

Rite Aid (RAD) shares jumped 42.6 percent to $8.67. Sources said Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is nearing a deal to buy the rival drugstore chain.

Among other gainers, shares of hotel operators rose after The Wall Street Journal reported at least three Chinese firms were looking to bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Starwood (HOT) shares were up 9.1 percent at $74.81 while shares of Marriott International (MAR) were up 1.8 percent at $77.99.

NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 2,293 to 797, for a 2.88-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,003 issues fell and 820 advanced, for a 2.44-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 122 new lows.

Federal Reserve policymakers meet to set interest rates and release a statement at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Earnings Season:
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
  • Anthem (ANTM)
  • Amgen (AMGN)
  • General Dynamics (GD)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Mondelez International (MDLZ)
  • Northrup Grumman (NOC)
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
  • PayPal (PYPL)
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)
  • Williams Cos. (WMB)
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