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US stocks tread water on mixed earnings reports

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US stocks tread water on mixed earnings reports

Stocks on the American exchange tread water as third quarter earnings continued to make headlines.

Homebuilders declined as a group after previously-owned home sales fell off their multiyear highs, according to a monthly report from the National Association of Realtors. Previously-owned house sales fell for the first time in three months, narrowly missing economists’ median estimate. Home sales were up more than 10 percent from a year ago, the report showed.

Elsewhere, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rose more than 2.4 percent as market participants look forward to the release of the next-generation iPads. VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) and Hasbro Inc (NASDAQ:HAS) advanced at least 3.3 percent after earnings beat forecasts. However, shares of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) declined 3.45 percent after revenues failed to impress investors. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) revenues also trailed estimates, as share prices declined 0.64 percent. Despite mixed earnings, analysts have raised their quarterly profit forecasts to an average of 2.5 percent for S&P 500 companies after Google reported stellar quarterly results last week.

The markets are consolidating in anticipation of the Labor Department’s September payrolls report. The US economy is expected to have generated 180,000 jobs last month, according to median estimates.

The S&P 500 ended the day where it started after posting its best weekly gain since July. The benchmark index closed at 1,744.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 7 points to 15,392.20 after 17 of its 30 members reported declines. The NASDAQ Composite edged up almost 6 points to 3,920.05.

Stocks received a bigger buy-in from investors after S&P’s Rating Services said the government shutdown cost the US economy $24 billion, further diminishing the likelihood of an asset taper following the October 29-30 FOMC policy meetings. With the recent appointment of Janet Yellen to the Chair of the Federal Reserve, market participants are revising their expectations for an asset taper, previously thought to begin in earnest sometime this year.

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