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Wall Street breathes sigh of relief as DC deadlock ends

Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 | 7:11 AM ET


Today could be a "sell on the news" day, with futures pointing to a lower open following the signing of a bill to reopen the government and extend the nation's debt limit. Stocks had rallied strongly Wednesday on indications that a deal would get done.


Though the government shutdown has ended, there's no word as yet on how long it will take for the normal release of economic statistics to resume. The Labor Department will issue the regular weekly jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET, as scheduled, but other numbers set for today will most likely remain on hold, including September housing starts, and September industrial production. Economists are looking for 330,000 first-time unemployment claims for last week, compared to 374,000 the prior week.


Also postponed for today: the usual Thursday 10:30 a.m. ET Energy Department look at natural gas inventories.


At 10 a.m. ET, the Philadelphia Fed will issue its monthly survey index, with consensus forecasts calling for an October reading of 15.0 compared to September's 22.3.


Dow components Verizon (VZ), UnitedHealth (UNH), and Goldman Sachs (GS) lead this morning's list of corporate earnings reports. Also on the schedule: banking companies BB&T (BBT), Fifth Third (FITB), M&T Bank (MTB), and Huntington Bancshares. We'll also see quarterly numbers from Baxter (BAX), Quest Diagnostics (DGX), Philip Morris (PM) and Union Pacific (UNP).


IBM (IBM) leads this morning's list of stocks to watch, with Big Blue reporting quarterly profit of $3.99 per share, excluding certain items, beating estimates by three cents. However, its revenue of $23.73 billion was more than a billion dollars short of estimates.


American Express (AXP) reported third quarter profit of $1.25 per share, three cents above estimates, with revenue above consensus as well. Consumers spent more using Amex credit cards during the quarter, and fewer defaulted on payments.


EBay (EBAY) earned 64 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, beating estimates by one cent. However, the online auctioneer's current quarter guidance falls below current consensus, with eBay pointing to a weak U.S. economic environment.


Sallie Mae (SLM) reported third quarter profit of 60 cents per share, one cent above estimates, with loan originations surging during the quarter. The student loan provider also raised its full-year forecast.


Xilinx (XLNX) earned 58 cents per share for its fiscal second quarter, excluding certain items, beating consensus by six cents. The chipmaker's revenue also beat analyst forecasts. However, Xilinx's current quarter forecast is below Street estimates, on more cautious spending by communications market customers.


Select Comfort (SCSS) fell seven cents short of estimates with third quarter profit of 36 cents per share, and its revenue was also well short of consensus. The mattress maker cut its full year outlook, citing the uncertain economy. Select Comfort's results are also impacting the stocks of rival mattress companies Tempur Sealy (TPX) and Mattress Firm (MFRM).


SanDisk (SNDK) earned $1.59 per share for the third quarter, excluding certain items, beating estimates by 27 cents. The memory chip maker's profits were more than triple year-earlier results, as prices rebound and SanDisk makes headway in the enterprise market.


USG (USG) is projecting third quarter profit of about 21 cents per share, seven cents below estimates, with projected revenue short of consensus as well. The maker of building products also announced a joint venture with Australia's Boral Ltd.


Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/B) exercised warrants to buy shares of General Electric (GE) common stock. 10.7 million shares will be delivered today, according to an SEC filing.


Harley-Davidson (HOG) recalled more than 29,000 2014 motorcycle models because of possible issues with the hydraulic clutch system.


Lockheed Martin (LMT) will lay off 600 workers, with the defense contractor citing a challenging business environment. The company said the job cuts are not related to the now-ended government shutdown.