US stocks fall as volatile trading continues

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 18, 2018
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U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday after a robust previous session, as volatile trading continued in the latest earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 91.74 points, or 0.36 percent, to 25,706.68. The S&P 500 decreased 0.71 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,809.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.79 points, or 0.04 percent, to 7,642.70.

IBM shares dropped 7.63 percent, leading the laggards in the Dow. The company reported mixed quarterly results after Tuesday's close, with earnings topping estimates and revenue missing.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed lower, with materials, energy and consumer discretionary down 0.83 percent, 0.69 percent and 0.69 percent, respectively, leading the losers.

The Nasdaq erased its earlier gains despite the rallying Netflix stock. Shares of the U.S. video-streaming giant surged more than 5 percent after it reported stronger-than-expected profits.

The market was gyrate on Wednesday, with stocks swinging between gains and losses frequently. Experts noted that this kind of gyration would continue until earnings reaffirm the outlook for next year.

Expectations for this earnings season are high. Analysts polled by FactSet expect third-quarter S&P 500 earnings to have grown by 19 percent. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported thus far, 88.5 percent have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

Investors also paid close attention to the minutes from the Fed's September meeting. The minutes released in the afternoon showed that the central bank remains convinced it needs to tighten monetary policy to keep the economy steady.

On economic data, U.S. privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,201,000, the Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. The reading fell 5.3 percent from the previous rate, more than expected.

U.S. stocks rallied on Tuesday with all the three major indices advancing more than 2 percent, the best day since March, boosted by the strong quarterly results from major U.S. companies. 

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