U.S. stocks ended Monday's session in the red as investors turned their focus toward the kick-off of Q4 earnings season. Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) is the first major company scheduled to release earnings. AA will report its latest results after Tuesday's closing bell.
Q4 earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. Even though AA will kick off the earnings season, a number of firms have already reported in the so-called pre-season. According to Thomson Reuters' data, 62% of the 21 companies that have already reported Q4 earnings have topped expectations.
With the fiscal cliff averted, and the next showdown regarding the debt ceiling not a concern until next month, traders expect corporate results to dictate market direction in the coming weeks.
U.S. Bank Settlement
In company news, Monday, federal regulators reached an $8.5 billion settlement with ten banks over foreclosure abuses relating to the robo-signing scandal. The banks involved in the deal included Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and six others.
In commodities, oil futures ended up 0.1% at $93.13 a barrel. Trading was range bound with traders reluctant to choose a direction ahead of earnings season and more data into U.S. crude stockpiles. Gold futures settled down 0.11% at $1,646.30 an ounce, their third straight session of losses, as investors remained concerned that the Fed may end its quantitative easing program this year.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
- Dow Jones Industrial Average down 50.92 (-0.38%) to 13,384.29
- S&P 500 down 4.58 (-0.31%) to 1,416.89
- Nasdaq Composite Index down 2.85 (-0.09%) to 3,098.81
- Nikkei 225 Index down 0.83%
- Hang Seng Index unchanged
- Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.35%
- FTSE 100 Index down 0.42%
- DAX down 0.63%
- CAC 40 down 0.80%
- (+) PPHM, Shares rocket higher after the company provided an update from its internal review of discrepancies from its Phase II randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of bavituximab in second-line non-small cell lung cancer in 121 patients.
- (+) VVUS, Shares jump up following a Reuters report claiming the sales of the company's obesity drug Qsymia climbed 68% month-over-month to 12,978 prescriptions in the month ended Dec 21.
- (+) CLNT, Receives two purchase orders for dyeing machines. The purchase orders provide for CLNT to deliver a total of 84 dyeing machines for a total purchase price of approximately $3.2 million.
- (-) ILMN, Shares are down following the company's earlier announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Verinata Health, Inc., a provider of non-invasive tests for the early identification of fetal chromosomal abnormalities, for consideration of $350 million plus up to $100 million in milestone payments through 2015.
- (-) TS, Dips after analysts at Guggenheim downgraded the company's stock to a Neutral rating from a Buy. The price target was set at $45 a share.
- (-) GSE, Appoints J. Michael Kirksey as executive vice president and CFO effective immediately.