Stocks ended sharply lower as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that, yes, there may be an end to the central bank's $85 billion a month bond-buying program by 2014. Bernanke said that, if the economy continues to improve, the quantitative easing program could begin to wind down toward the end of this year and wrap up for good in 2014.
As equities tanked, bonds did the same, with the yield on the 10-year note, which is tied to mortgage rates, hitting a two-year high.
On the upside, FedEx (FDX) rose more than 1% for the day after delivering its quarterly earnings. The shipping giant posted profits of $2.13 a share when estimates were for $1.96. Revenues were in line with expectations. The company says it's still struggling from tepid economic growth. As a result it will cut capacity between the U.S. and Asia. There are also plans to adjust to increasing demand for cheaper ground delivery as opposed to pricier air transport options.
They say he was no longer suited for the job. Men's Wearhouse (MW) has fired George Zimmer, its founder, executive chairman, and star of TV pitchman. The stock dropped 7% on the announcement. So far Men's Wearhouse has not given a reason for the termination. It also postponed the company's annual shareholder meeting until further notice.
Tesla (TSLA) rose again today despite what would appear to be a bump in the road. Shares climbed 2% even though company chairman Elon Musk announced a recall of 800 S sedans. Musk says there are concerns over a mounting bracket that holds the left-hand back-seat in place. The stock began the day down 3% on the news, but then moved back into the green. Tesla says there have not been any customer complaints or injuries linked to the recall.
Adobe (ADBE) was up 1% for the day after rising as much as 7% following the release of its quarterly results after yesterday's closing bell. The company was expected to post earnings of 34-cents a share on $1.01 billion. Excluding items, it beat by a penny on earnings and matched on revenues. Adobe says demand is rising for "Creative Cloud," the subscription version of its flagship software package. Subscription models bring in less money up front but create a more predictable revenue stream. Even prior to today's gains, shares of Adobe are up 32% over the past year.
La-Z-Boy (LZB) shareholders have been knocked of their feet. The stock dropped 2% for the day, reversing gains it notched yesterday in the hours before it released quarterly earnings. The company actually beat estimates posting earnings of 33-cents a share when expectations were for 28-cents on revenue that also beat the consensus. However, the report came with a warning that higher expenses have been hurting the bottom line.