Stocks Finish Higher, Boosted by Earnings…..

U.S. stocks finished the day in the green, as the markets digested a heating up Q3 earnings season. Healthcare stocks led the way bolstered by earning results from Dow member Johnson & Johnson, while the Information Technology was the top contributor to the S&P 500’s advance to threaten a return to record highs. In other earnings news, Dow member Travelers Companies topped expectations, while Dow component Procter & Gamble’s gross margin miss overshadowed its better-than-expected top and bottom line results. Outside of earnings, Atea Pharmaceuticals tumbled after the company and partner Roche Holding reported that the trial of their antiviral COVID-19 pill did not meet the primary endpoint. Markets continued to grapple with global supply-chain issues and the consequent inflation pressures, which have fostered expectations that the Fed and other global central banks will soon begin to rein in extraordinary monetary policy measures. Treasuries were mixed with the yield curve steepening somewhat, while the U.S. dollar traded lower. Gold rose, while crude oil prices traded higher. In economic news, with supply issues hamstringing the housing market, September housing starts and building permits both missed expectations. Europe and Asia finished mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 199 points (0.6%) to 35,457, the S&P 500 Index increased 33 points (0.7%) to 4,520, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 107 points (0.7%) to 15,129. In moderate volume, 695 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 4.4 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil increased $0.75 to $82.44 per barrel. Elsewhere, the gold spot price increased $4.30 to $1,770.00 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—declined 0.2% to 93.76.

Housing starts for September declined 1.6% month-over-month (m/m) to an annual pace of 1,555,000 units, below the Bloomberg consensus forecast of 1,615,000 units, and compared to August’s downwardly-revised pace of 1,580,000 units. Building permits, one of the leading indicators tracked by the Conference Board as it is a gauge of future construction, fell 7.7% m/m at an annual rate of 1,589,000, south of expectations calling for 1,680,000 units, and compared to the negatively-revised 1,721,000 unit pace in August.

Treasuries were mixed with the yield curve steepening.

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