Stocks were unable to extend yesterday's big rally and closed flat. Disappointing earnings reports from a couple of widely watched stocks, in particular the loss reported by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), helped to set a negative tone early. The struggling computer and printer maker said it was duped into overpaying for its Autonomy subsidiary last year and it wrote off most of the value of the company. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke added to the negative tone by saying in a speech in New York that the labor market was still unhealthy and again warned lawmakers that they need to put the U.S. budget on a sustainable path. With many Americans hitting the road in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, tomorrow could be a quiet day.
The Pain Management Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by Horizon Pharma (HZNP) with a 9% gain. The Fuel Cell Stocks Index was the day's worst performing tickerspy Index, with Plug Power (PLUG) down -7%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost -7 points to close at 12,789 but the S&P 500 gained a point to finish at 1,388. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also added a point to finish at 2,917. Gold fell by -$10.80 per ounce to $1,723.60. Crude oil closed down -$2.53 per barrel to finish at $86.75.
In economic news, the Census Bureau said the pace of new home building rose 3.6% in October to an annual rate of 894,000 homes. Applications for new building permits fell 2.7% to an annual pace of 866,000.
In earnings news, shares of electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) plunged -13.0% after the company reported a third-quarter loss of $13 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $173 million, or 47 cents a share. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 3 cents a share. Analysts expected EPS of 12 cents. Sales slid to $10.75 billion from $11.15 billion. Same-store sales declined 4.3%.
Shares of Nuance Communications (NUAN) slid -6.8% after the maker of language recognition software reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $164.9 million, or 51 cents a share, on revenue of $490.1 million. Analysts expected a profit of 48 cents a share on revenue of $496.5 million.
Shares of footwear retailer DSW (DSW) added 5.5% after the company reported an adjusted fiscal second-quarter profit of 66 cents per share, topping the consensus estimate of 62 cents. Revenue rose 7.5% to $512.2 million. Analysts expected $510.9 million. Same-store sales jumped 4.2%. Twelve pros counted DSW among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and more than 60 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
Campbell Soup (CPB) said its fiscal first-quarter profit fell to $245 million, or 78 cents per share, from $265 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose almost 1% to $2.34 billion. On an adjusted basis, Campbell Soup earned 88 cents per share. Analysts expected a profit of 85 cents on revenue of $2.37 billion. The company reiterated fiscal 2013 EPS guidance of $2.51-$2.57 on revenue growth of 10%-12%. Shares of Campbell Soup fell -2.0%. Ten pros counted Campbell among their top holdings at the end of Q3 and nearly 200 tickerspy members own the stock in their portfolios.
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The dollar dipped and benchmark Bund futures rose on Wednesday as expectations hardened that the head of the U.S. …