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Markets in rally mode ahead of Fed

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 6:38 AM ET


U.S. stocks are finishing October in a bullish mode, with the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest monthly gain since October 2011. It's also posted gains in 13 of the past 15 sessions, as investors anticipate today's Federal Reserve policy statement will keep the Fed's bond buying program intact for now.


The Fed statement will be issued at 2 p.m. ET, but there will be economic numbers for investors to consider ahead of that release. At 8:15 a.m. ET, ADP will release its October report on private sector employment, with economists looking for 150,000 additional jobs for the month. The ADP report usually comes two days before the government's monthly jobs data, but the Labor Department's October report has been postponed until Friday November 8 due to the recently concluded government shutdown.


At 8:30 a.m. ET, the government is out with the September consumer price index, with economists expecting a rise of 0.2 percent for both the headline and ex-food and energy measures. Both had risen 0.1 percent in August.


The Treasury will auction $29 billion in 7-year notes, with the results of that auction out shortly after 1 p.m. ET.


Weekly reports out today include the Mortgage Bankers Association's look at mortgage applications at 7 a.m. ET, and the Energy Department's weekly assessment of oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.


General Motors (GM) and NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMCSA) leads this morning's list of corporate earnings reports, with Corning (GLW), ADP (ADP), Garmin (GRMN), Hess (HES), Phillips 66 (PSX), Southern Co. (SO), SodaStream (SODA), and Hyatt (H) also among those scheduled to report. Facebook (FB) headlines today's after-the-bell releases, joined by Dow component Visa (V), Starbucks (SBUX), Kraft Foods (KRFT), Marriott (MAR), MetLife (MET), JDS Uniphase (JDSU), and Expedia (EXPE), among others.


Electronic Arts (EA) is among our stocks to watch this morning, reporting second quarter profit of 33 cents per share, excluding certain items, beating estimates by 20 cents. Revenue was also above estimates, and the videogame maker raised its full-year outlook ahead of the release of new videogame consoles. However, EA's current quarter earnings and revenue estimates are short of analyst forecasts.


Yelp (YELP) lost four cents per share for the third quarter, excluding certain items, wider than the one cent loss analysts were anticipating. However, the review site operator's revenue and current quarter estimates are above Street consensus. Yelp's bottom line has been impacted by increased marketing expenses, but it did raise its full-year revenue outlook.


LinkedIn (LNKD) earned 39 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, beating estimates by seven cents, and also saw revenue come in above forecasts as well. Its current quarter revenue forecast, however, is below Street forecasts, despite a jump in the number of users this y ear.


Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) reported third quarter profit of 95 cents per share, ten cents above estimates, with revenue beating analyst forecasts as well. The restaurant chain benefited from lower prices for chicken wings, and also saw a 4.8 percent increase in same-store sales at company-owned locations, as well as a 3.9 percent rise at franchises.


Shutterfly (SFLY) lost 24 cents per share for the third quarter, excluding certain items, smaller than the 60 cent loss analysts were expecting. Revenue was above consensus, but the photo sharing service's current quarter EPS and revenue estimates fall well below analyst estimates.


Dreamworks (DWA) earned 12 cents per share for the third quarter, surprising analysts who had forecast a breakeven quarter. Revenue came in above expectations, and investors appear relieved that the profit drop of 59 percent from a year earlier wasn't as large as some had thought.


IAC/Interactive (IACI) reported third quarter profit of $1.29 per share, excluding certain items, well above estimates of 95 cents. Revenue fell short of forecasts, despite growth from the company's dating sites like Match.com.


Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) beat estimates by a wide margin, earning $2.49 per share for its second quarter compared to estimates of $1.71. Revenue trounced estimates, and current quarter revenue estimates for the videogame maker are above forecasts as well. The company's results were helped by the popularity of the newly-released "Grand Theft Auto V".


Gilead Sciences (GILD) reported third quarter profit of 52 cents per share, excluding certain items, four cents above estimates. The biotech company also raised its full-year sales guidance, thanks to good results for its line of HIV drugs.


Baidu (BIDU) beat estimates for the third quarter with its latest results, and the China-based internet company also gave an upbeat current quarter forecast.


Caesars Entertainment (CZR) lost $6.03 per share for the third quarter, much wider than the $1.29 per share loss forecast by analysts. Revenue was also below consensus, as the casino operator saw weakness in its U.S. operations.


Aflac (AFL) earned $1.47 per share for the third quarter, missing estimates by one cent. However, the insurance company did say it would buy back more stock in 2014 than it had previously anticipated.