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Stocks Slide Amid Earnings Disappointment

Cindy Perman|CNBC.com
Thursday, 15 Oct 2009 | 1:35 PM ET

Traders applied the brakes Thursday, a day after the Dow topped 10,000, as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup proved no match for Wall Street's inflated earnings expectations.

Stocks had briefly pared their losses after a third straight positive Philly Fed reading — the first time that's happened in two years.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported its gauge of regional manufacturing slipped slightly — to 11.5 in October from 14.1 in November — but the fact that it's remained positive for three straight months was encouraging.

In the day's other economic news, weekly jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since January; the consumer prices rose 2 percent, in line with expectations; and New York manufacturing rose unexpectedly in September.

Oil barreled higher for a sixth straight day, topping $76 a barrel, after a report showed crude supplies rose by 400 barrels, less than expected, last week.

Oil will hit triple digitssooner than most people think, one veteran Nymex trader said.

Goldman Sachs reported earnings of $5.25 a share — a full dollar above expectations — beating on both earnings and revenue.

But shares fell as Wall Street's whisper numbers got a little out of control following JPMorgan's beat yesterday.

Adding to the disappointment, Citigroup beat on earnings but didn't beat on revenue, which was weighed down by billions in failed loans.

Disappointment in both Goldman and Citi earnings rippled through the financial sector.

Banking analyst Dick Bove said this morning on CNBC that investors shouldn't be selling Goldman or Citigroup stock.

“I would argue that (Goldman’s earnings are) stronger than JPMorgan’s if you look at the whole company,” with JPMorgan doing badly on the traditional bank side of the business, Bove said. "There is no reason not to be buying (Goldman) at this time,” he said.

Bove said Goldman is the best-manged firm in the sector, but Citi's stock has the most growth potential — it could go up to $20, he said. The stock is currently just under $5.

Southwest Airlines reported a loss, attributing it to fuel hedges and an early retirement program, but revenue also declined.

US-traded shares of Nokia tumbled more than 10 percent after the handset maker unexpectedly swung to a loss. The company said it was hurt by sagging smartphone sales and writedowns at its networks unit.

Times are tough in hog town, too: Harley-Davidson reported its earnings plunged 84 percent, much more than expected, as sales continued to slide amid the slow recovery.

Chipmaker Xilinxbeat on both earnings and revenue and it raised its dividend. But the firm's CFO said there may not be as much of a rebound in sales going forward as there has been in the past two quarters, stirring concerns about growth in the sector. Xilinx makes chips used for driver assistance, medical imaging and other applications.

After the bell today, we'll get reports from Google , IBM and Advanced Micro Devices.

In M&A news, Cisco's bid for videoconferencing firm Tandberg was snubbed by a large shareholder.

The bad news isn't over yet for housing: The latest report from RealtyTrac showed that foreclosures rose more than 5 percent in the third quarter.

On a positive note for housing, the average on the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.92 percent last week, it's third straight week below 5 percent, Freddie Mac reported.

Homeowners have taken advantage of the low rates: In the past five weeks, 3 out of 5 mortgages were for refinancing, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Still to Come:

THURSDAY: IRS amnesty for offshore accounts ends; Earnings from IBM, AMD and Google after the bell
FRIDAY: Industrial production; consumer sentiment; Fed's Fisher speaks; Earnings from Bank of America, GE, Halliburton and Mattel

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.

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