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Stocks Move Lower Amid Budget Battle and Debt Ceiling

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks moved lower again today, adding to Friday's considerable drop. Traders appear concerned over the budget battle in Washington which could lead to a government shutdown next week. There's also worry stemming from anticipated wrangling over the debt ceiling. Today happened to be the first day Goldman Sachs (GS), Nike (NKE) and Visa (V) were part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. All three stocks moved lower.

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Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY) were under pressure through much of the day until a surprise buyout bid halted the stock, which eventually reopened and turned positive. BlackBerry signed a letter of intent to allow Fairfax Financial Holdings to take the company private in a deal worth $9 a share. Fairfax already owns a 10% stake in BlackBerry and has agreed to buy remaining shares for $4.7 billion. This comes after the company warned on Friday that fiscal second-quarter results will be weaker than expected. The struggling smartphone maker expects a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion and plans lay off 4,500 workers.

Apple (AAPL) climbed 5% on sales data for its new iPhones. The company says it sold more than 9 million 5S and 5C devices worldwide from Friday through Sunday. That's nearly double the sales figure when the iPhone 5 was released last year. This was the first time Apple released two new phones simultaneously. It was also the first time it released devices on the same day in multiple countries including China. Still the figures topped analyst expectations which were for sales between 5-million and 8-million.

Microsoft (MSFT) traded flat today as it announced a new model of its Surface tablet. Changes to the device are mostly below the surface: the new one is faster, has better battery life, and a sharper screen than its poor-selling predecessor. The original Surface tablet went on sale nearly a year ago. The least expensive Surface 2 model will sell for $449. That is $50 less than the initial price of the first Surface as well as Apple’s latest iPad.

Citigroup (C) slid 3% on a report in the Financial Times saying the bank had a significant decline in trading revenues over the summer. Sources tell the FT the problem was a worse-than-expected slowdown in markets. Citi's investments are particularly weighted towards interest rates and foreign exchange. It also has the largest exposure of any U.S. bank to emerging markets. Citigroup will report quarterly earnings on October 15th.

Michael Kors (KORS) fell 1% after a downgrade. Jefferies has moved from the company to a hold from a buy, saying the stock is now fully valued. Shares of the company are up more than 50% year-to-date.

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