For the second day in a row, markets fell. While yesterday was much more extreme, markets again ended near their lows of the day.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 12,811, -121.4, -0.9 percent
S&P 500: 1,377, -17.0 -1.2 percent
NASDAQ: 2,896, -41.7, -1.4 percent
And now the top stories:
- This morning, initial jobless claims fell to 355K from 363K a week ago, defying consensus estimates of a rise to 365K. However, one state didn't report claims due to a lack of electricity caused by Hurricane Sandy, so we should see a spike in claims next week.
- The U.S. trade balance for the month of September was released at the same time, showing a surprise 5.1 percent decrease in the deficit from the previous month. The number caused Macroeconomic Advisers to boost the firm's tracking estimate of Q3 GDP to 2.9 percent annualized, far above the advance reading of 2.0 percent. However, there was little reaction in stock futures to the concurrent release of claims and trade data.
- U.S. stocks spiked right at the opening bell to session highs before topping out at 1401 and falling steadily throughout the day. Markets continued to dive when headlines crossed around 10:40 AM that EU ministers would push back a discussion on Greece's next bailout for a few weeks, possibly on November 26. Greece passed a bill including critical austerity measures by a very narrow margin last night that was seen to pave the way for more Greek aid and it was expected to be the main topic of discussion at the November 12 Eurogroup meeting.
- Apple stock continued to significantly underperform the market today, falling near 4 percent. The stock is already more than 20 percent off its September highs as the company deals with management changes and investor concern over a lack of new products on the horizon.
- U.S. Treasuries confirmed the general risk-off tone since the presidential election on Tuesday, recording the strongest demand for U.S. government debt at a primary auction since December 2011 with a 2.77 bid to cover ratio. 30-year bonds were priced at 2.82 percent, sending Treasury yields lower.
- Groupon reported earnings after the closing bell, missing estimates for both sales and profits while guiding down expectations for future numbers. A source told our own Henry Blodget that Groupon would announce 80 job cuts today. Other notable earnings after the closing bell included Disney, which is falling after-hours after the company missed revenue estimates, and Nordstrom, which missed both top and bottom line estimates and is falling 4 percent after hours.
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