US Stocks Are Fluctuating in Choppy Trading
New York (Nov 10) Stocks continued to bounce between small gains and losses Tuesday afternoon after being down earlier as a possible interest rate hike in December weighed on the markets.
The S&P 500 was up 0.16%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.15%.
The betting is now 70% for the Federal Reserve to hike rates at its December meeting, up sharply from 30% several weeks ago, according to CME Group's Fed funds futures. Volatility is likely to continue through to the end of the year, analysts predicted, particularly heading into the December Fed meeting.
"Coming into 2015 ... we witnessed a noticeable increase in volatility, particularly during the third quarter," UBS strategists wrote in a note, citing China's currency devaluation and the long period of low volatility as catalysts. "We believe the volatility regime has shifted higher, consistent with prior aging bull markets, and higher volatility is likely to continue to provide investors with greater opportunities to generate [an active return]."
The oil market is on the slow track to recovery, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency. The global oil watchdog predicted oil prices will rebalance at $80 a barrel but not until 2020. However, the agency said that any price gains after 2020 would be "moderated by higher prices ... efficiency policies and switching to alternative fuels." West Texas Intermediate crude oil was moving higher on Tuesday, up 0.8% to $44.22 a barrel.
The prices of imports fell in October for the fourth straight month, according to the Bureau of Labor. The price the U.S. paid for goods fell 0.5% month over month from 0.6% in September. Economists had expected the measure to fall 0.1%. Exports fell 0.2%, in-line with estimates.
The Nasdaq fell 0.26%, pressured by Apple (AAPL) , which was dragging on the rest of the tech sector. The iPhone maker tumbled more than 2% after Credit Suisse analysts reported supplier checks had shown the company had cut component orders by as much as 10%. Apple suppliers Cirrus Logic (CRUS) , Skyworks (SWKS) and Avago (AVGO) were also lower on the news.
Chipotle (CMG - Get Report) shares popped after the company announced it is reopening 43 restaurants in the Pacific Northwest after a health scare. The burrito chain said health officials had concluded that there was "no ongoing risk" after several cases of E.coli broke out earlier this month.
Gap (GPS - Get Report) slid close to 2% after reporting that October sales at its Banana Republic brand slumped. The retailer said total sales fell 4.8% to $1.2 billion last month, primarily a result of a strong dollar, while comparable sales dropped 3%. By brand, Gap stores fell 4%, while Banana Republic tumbled 15%.
Atmel (ATML - Get Report) shares fell nearly 2% after activist hedge fund Elliott Management said it would vote against Dialog Semiconductor's (DLGNF) plans to acquire the chipmaker. The fund, which disclosed a 2.9% stake, said the acquisition was too costly and would do little for streamlining operations.
In earnings news, Rackspace Hosting (RAX - Get Report) climbed over 14% after a better-than-expected third quarter. The cloud-computing company earned 26 cents a share, 6 cents above estimates, while revenue jumped 11% to $508.9 million and beat forecasts by nearly $6 million. The company expects fourth-quarter sales growth between 2% and 3%, above estimates of 1.7% growth.
Vodafone (VOD) moved higher after the telecom raised its full-year earnings guidance. The company expects full-year profit between 11.7 billion and 12 billion pounds compared to previous guidance of 11.5 billion pounds. The guidance factors in the company's first-half loss associated with infrastructure costs.
D.R. Horton (DHI) climbed a little over 8% after a recovery in the housing sector supported strong growth in its fourth quarter. The homebuilder earned 64 cents a share, 2 cents above estimates, while revenue jumped nearly 30% to $3.09 billion. Net sales orders climbed 19% to 8,477 homes.
Lions Gate (LGF) increased by to over 4% Tuesday afternoon, despite the media company reporting a far wider loss than expected and their stock price initially declining. By segment, motion pictures revenue fell 11%, while television production sales slumped 21%. The company should see a better second-half on young-adult franchise releases The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Allegiant.
McDonald's (MCD) rose 0.26% after shares were halted briefly Tuesday afternoon prior to the company's annual investor meeting. McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook confirmed the company will not be pursuing a real estate investment trust (REIT) after months of evaluating such a transaction.
Drug-maker Mallinckrodt (MNK) fell more than 17% Monday following a Citron Research report that called for more disclosures about specialty pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt's main drug. But the stock rebounded to gain more than 7% on Tuesday.