U.S. equities lost steam late in the day to finish lower, as investors perused a flood of earnings reports, an unexpected slide in Consumer Confidence, as well as a rise in pending home sales. Moreover, optimism of progress on the U.S.-China trade front continued and the prospect of a worst-case Brexit scenario was dampened further as a third election since 2015 for the U.K. looks to be in the offing. Google parent, Alphabet, missed earnings forecasts and Grubhub tumbled on its Q3 revenues and guidance, but GM easily topped profit projections, and Dow members Pfizer and Merck both raised their outlooks after besting earnings estimates. Treasury yields were slightly lower, as was gold, while crude oil prices were mixed and the U.S. dollar dipped.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 19 points (0.1%) to 27,071, the S&P 500 Index ticked 3 points (0.1%) lower to 3,037 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 49 points (0.6%) to 8,277. In moderate volume, 802 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.8 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil fell $0.27 to $55.54 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.01 at $1.64 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $3.68 lower at $1,488.83 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—declined 0.1% to 97.70.
Consumer Confidence unexpectedly slips…..
The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 125.9 in October, from September’s upwardly-revised 126.3 level, and below the Bloomberg estimate of 128.0. The index sits at the lowest level since June as a gain in the Present Situation Index was more than offset by a decline for the Expectations Index of business conditions for the next six months. On employment, the labor differential—consumers’ appraisal of jobs being “plentiful” minus being “hard to get”—rose to 35.1 from the 33.5 level posted in September.
Pending home sales rose 1.5% month-over-month (m/m) in September, versus projections of a 0.9% gain, and following the downwardly-revised 1.4% rise registered in August. Sales were 6.3% higher y/y, compared to the expected 3.6% rise. Pending home sales reflect contract signings and are a gauge of the pipeline of existing home sales.
The 20-city composite S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index posted a 2.0% y/y gain in home prices in August, versus expectations of a 2.1% increase. Month-over-month (m/m), home prices were 0.2% lower on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to forecasts of a 0.1% dip.
Treasuries were modestly higher, as the yields on the 2-year and 10-year notes, along with the 30-year bond, were down 2 basis points (bps) at 1.64%, 1.83% and 2.33%, respectively.
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