Today's Primer

Stocks eking out record highs

U.S. stocks come off a session of very little movement for the major averages, which nonetheless produced another record close for the Dow. Both the Nasdaq and the Dow have risen for three straight sessions, and the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are all on track for their third straight month of gains.

Housing is the central theme of today's economic numbers, although we won't be seeing as much as originally thought. Due to data collection issues related to the government shutdown, the September/October housing starts report has been postponed until early December. However, data on building permits for both months will be issued at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 9 a.m. ET, the monthly Case-Shiller report on home prices will be out, with economists looking for a 13.0 percent year-over-year increase for September in the nation's largest markets.

At 10 a.m. ET, the Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Index is expected to come in at 73 for November, up from 71.2 in October.

The Treasury will sell $35 billion in 5-year notes, with the results of that sales available shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

Tiffany (TIF) leads a short list of companies out with earnings this morning, along with Hormel (HRL), Cracker Barrel (CBRL), Chico's (CHS), Pall Corp. (PLL), and Movado (MOV). Former Dow component Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) will issue quarterly numbers after the bell, along with Analog Devices (ADI), Zale (ZLC), and TiVo (TIVO).

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) is among our stocks to watch, reporting fiscal first quarter earnings of eight cents per share, excluding certain items. That was one cent above estimates, with revenue also exceeding consensus. The network security provider saw a 73 percent gain in subscription and services revenue from a year earlier.

Nuance Communications (NUAN) reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of 30 cents per share, beating estimates by a penny. However, the software provider's 2014 forecast is below Street estimates as it transitions to a subscription-based business.

Workday (WDAY) reported a smaller than expected loss of 12 cents per share for the third quarter. Analysts had been looking for a 17 cent per share loss, but the provider of human resources software saw a 76 percent jump in revenue, and also forecast current quarter sales well above expectations.

J.C. Penney (JCP) chief executive officer Mike Ullman purchased 112,000 shares in the retailer at $8.95 per share, according to an SEC filing.

BlackBerry (BBRY) will see even more management changes coming, according to The Globe and Mail newspaper. That comes a day after interim CEO John Chen announced the departure of the company's chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, and chief operating officer.

Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is the object of a bidding war between at least six private equity firms, according to Reuters, which said the firms want to buy the company's industrial packaging business for $3 billion or more.