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Stocks Flat Ahead of September Jobs Report

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

The S&P 5oo hit a new intraday high this morning, before closing flat for the day ahead of tomorrow's jobs report for September. The report was originally slated for release shortly after the start of the government shutdown, but it had to be delayed because workers at the Labor Department were furloughed. The NASDAQ also touched a new 13-year high.

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McDonald's (MCD) fell 0.6% as investors chewed on the burger chain's quarterly report. The company beat earnings estimates by a penny with profits of $1.52 per share. But revenue came in slightly under expectations at $7.323-billion compared to a consensus figure of $7.336-billion. Investors seemed to be reacting in part to a warning that McDonald's expects same-store sales to be relatively flat in October. The company has been hurting from the weak economy and increased competition.

Halliburton (HAL) fell over 3% after it beat by a penny on the bottom line when it reported quarterly results this morning. Adjusted earnings were 83-cents a share. That's a 17% increase over the period a year ago. The oilfield services giant cited strength in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Angola. It also indicated that the current quarter is shaping up to be a strong one. Revenue for the quarter gone by missed expectations at $7.47-billion versus $7.5-billion.

Hasbro (HAS) jumped more than 5% on an earnings beat. The company made $1.31 a share, which was two cents better than estimates. Revenue was also slightly above expectations at $1.37-billion versus $1.34-billion. Hasbro credited strong business overseas. It said cost controls also helped to counteract weakness here at home. Looking ahead, analysts expect Hasbro will benefit from toys associated with the new Transformers and Spider-Man movies due out next year.

Google (GOOG) dropped nearly 1%, but held above the $1,000 a share mark. The company surged past the threshold on Friday when it rose 13.8% after reporting earnings. The company not only beat estimates, it demonstrated success in navigating the massive shift to mobile. Going into today's session, Google stock is up 49% year-to-date.

JPMorgan's (JPM) shares closed flat after the company is said to have reached a tentative $13 billion dollar settlement with the Feds to end a number of civil investigations. The Wall Street Journal says Attorney General Eric Holder was threatening to file a civil case this coming Wednesday. As for the settlement amount, it would be the largest in history. However, it wouldn't rule out the possibility of future criminal charges against the company.

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