Wall Street concluding October with solid gains
A post-Fed meeting sell off notwithstanding, the major averages are set to post sizable gains for the month of October, with just one trading day remaining. The S&P 500 has a chance to put up its best monthly advance in two years, and for only the fifth time in 30 years, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq will each register positive months for both September and October.
Today's lone government report comes from the Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. ET, when it issues its weekly look at initial jobless claims. Economists are looking for claims of 335,000 for last week, compared to 350,000 the week before. We'll also get the latest Chicago Purchasing Managers Index at 9:45 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a reading of 55.0 for October, compared to September's 55.7.
Dow component Exxon Mobil (XOM) leads this morning's list of prominent corporate earnings reports, joined by MasterCard (MA), Clorox (CLX), AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Avon (ABC), Beam (BEAM), Cigna (CI), Estee Lauder (EL), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Mylan (MYL), and Time Warner Cable (TWC), among others. Today's after-the-bell reports include AIG (AIG), First Solar (FSLR), Newmont Mining (NEM), and Republic Services (RSG).
Facebook (FB) leads our list of stocks to watch, after reporting third quarter profit of 25 cents per share, excluding certain items, beat estimates by six cents. Revenue beat consensus on strong growth in mobile ads, but Facebook also said it was not planning to increase the frequency of ads it shows to users.
Visa (V) earned $1.85 per share for its fourth quarter, matching estimates, with revenue falling below consensus. However, the credit card company did maintain its full year forecast and also announced a new $5 billion stock buyback.
Starbucks (SBUX) beat estimates by three cents with fiscal fourth quarter profit of 63 cents. However, its 2014 profit forecast is below Street estimates, even though customer traffic and spending in its stores have been on the rise.
Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) earned 65 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, missing estimates by four cents. Revenue also fell below analyst forecasts, with the quarter impacted by moves related to its spinoff from Mondelez (MDLZ) in 2012.
Weight Watchers (WTW) reported third quarter profit of $1.07 per share, well above estimates of 83 cents, with revenue beating forecasts as well. However, the operator of weight loss programs also said 2014 would be a "challenging" year because of fewer customers, and it also suspended its dividend.
Expedia (EXPE) beat estimates by eight cents with third quarter profit of $1.43 per share, excluding certain items, with revenue slightly above consensus. The travel service web site operator was helped by increased bookings.
Sony (SNE) cut its full year profit forecast after reporting a quarterly loss. Its results were hurt by movies that performed poorly at the box office, like "White House Down".
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) reported a 31 percent increase in third quarter profits, as higher prices and cost cutting helped make up for lower sales volumes.
McDonald's (MCD) will begin selling bagged coffee next year at supermarkets and other retailers, in partnership with Kraft Foods Group (KRFT)