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Stocks Down Slightly on Second Day of Shutdown

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

The second day of the government shutdown seemed to give traders second thoughts. Stocks moved lower, with the Dow falling 0.4%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq edged lower by less than 0.10%. The lack of progress out of Washington suggests the stalemate could drag on at least until the middle of the month when the country is set to hit the current debt ceiling. Due to the shutdown, it's unlikely there will be a monthly jobs report for September released on Friday. Therefore this morning's ADP payroll report took on added significance. The report showed 166,000 private payrolls added for the month which was below estimates of 180,000 jobs.

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Monsanto (MON) fell 1% after reporting quarterly losses which were wider than expected. The seed maker lost 47-cents a share for the period when estimates had been for a loss of 43-cents. The company also missed estimates on revenue which were $2.2 billion worldwide versus $2.24 billion. Looking forward, the company has also lowered its forecast for 2014, although it hopes to improve performance with the purchase of analytics and risk-management firm Climate Corporation for $930 million. Monsanto has been expanding into developing markets like Asia and South America. In June, China approved the import of Monsanto soybeans which are genetically modified to repel insects.

Agriculture company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) rose 1% on a deal to sell its cocoa business. Reuters reports that Cargill is in advanced talks to buy the unit, though no final deal has been announced. ADM announced in June that it was in discussions about a possible sale of the division. So far there is no mention of a purchase price.

Global Payments (GPN) soared 11% on its earnings which were released after yesterday's closing bell. The company says it made $1 a share, a nickel better than expectations. Revenue also topped forecasts at $630 million versus $624 million. In addition, the company upped its outlook, announced the speed-up of share repurchases, and named a new CEO. Today's gains put the stock at a new 52-week high.

Sotheby's (BID) rose 0.6% on news that Third Point's Daniel Loeb is calling for the ouster of CEO William Ruprecht. In a letter filed with the SEC, the activist investor criticized Ruprecht of failing to innovate. Loeb also expressed interest in joining Sotheby's board and said he has been identifying potential replacements for Ruprecht. Third Point now holds a 9.3% stake in Sotheby's.

BlackBerry (BBRY) rose 0.5% after the release of a new filing. It shows the banged-up phone maker upping its restructuring charges to $400 million. Prior estimates were for $100 million. The money will go to things like severance for the layoff of 4,500 employees, which is 1/3 of the company's current workforce. BlackBerry has a tentative agreement to be taken private for $9 a share.

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