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Stocks fall, marking twelfth down day out of 14 trading sessions

Emily McCormick

US equities posted losses at the end of regular trading Tuesday.

The Dow (^DJI) slid 0.5%, or 125.98 points, as of market close. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 0.55%, or 15.19 points, ending trading lower for 12 out of the past 14 sessions. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) slipped 0.42%, or 31.09 points.

Earlier in the day, stocks slid after the release of disappointing financial results from major manufacturers including Caterpillar and 3M, with the Dow shedding as many as 548.62 points.

Typically, a company’s stock will fall when financial results disappoint. But what’s been notable about the current earnings season is that better-than-expected news isn’t cutting it either.

“Firms that ‘beat’ earnings expectations have underperformed the S&P 500 by ~40bp on announcement (>2.5std below avg), despite an above-average beat level (~3.4%),” UBS’s Keith Parker observed in a note to clients on Tuesday. This could be in part due to disappointing guidance, as many companies that beat on the top or bottom lines in third quarter have slashed or failed to raise future forecasts.

Tuesday’s choppy trading marks a continuation of volatility seen throughout October. The S&P 500 is down 6.77% from its October 3 intraday high of 2939.86 points.

The S&P 500’s closing prices year-to-date.
The S&P 500’s closing prices year-to-date.

“The recent falls in US equity markets have brought huge waves of conspiracy theories about the reasons for the declines. The scapegoats are not earnings nor forward-looking indicators but simply that financial conditions have tightened,” Jefferies analyst Sean Darby wrote in a note.

Darby cited the combination of a strong dollar and rising US bond yields as headwinds to share prices.

STOCKS: Manufacturing stocks Caterpillar, 3M disappoint

Caterpillar (CAT) posted disappointing full-year guidance even as the company delivered revenue and profits that topped analysts’ expectations. Revenue gained 18% to $13.5 billion, versus average expectations of $13.3 billion from Wall Street. Earnings came in at $2.86 per share, a penny better than expected. However, Caterpillar noted that manufacturing costs were higher due to increased material and freight costs, and material costs rose along with increases in steel prices and tariffs. Caterpillar, a major player in global industrialization is largely viewed as an economic bellwether, and investors look to the company for signals of fallout from the trade war. Shares of Caterpillar slid 7.54% to $119 per share at the end of trading Tuesday.

3M (MMM) downwardly revised its forecast for annual profits, sending shares of the mixed manufacturer tumbling in early trading. The company trimmed its outlook for the third time this year, providing guidance for adjusted earnings of $9.90 to $10 per share in 2018, down from a forecast of $10.20 to $10.45 per share previously. Sales in the consumer division fell 3.4%, while health care sales declined 2.8%. The company delivered GAAP earnings of $2.58 per share on revenue of $8.15 billion, versus average analyst expectations of earnings of $2.71 per share on revenue of $8.4 billion. The stock fell 4.36% to $192.58 per share as of market close Tuesday.

McDonald’s (MCD) beat Wall Street expectations on both the top and bottom lines, but missed in domestic same-store sales. The company delivered earnings of $2.10 per share, 11 cents better than average analyst expectations. Domestic same-store sales missed slightly at 2.4% versus expectations of 2.5%, while international same-store sales grew 4.2% above consensus of 3.7%. Shares of McDonalds rallied 6.33% to $177.17 at the end of the session.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

United Technologies (UTX) reported quarterly profits that beat average analyst expectations and raised its full-year 2018 profit forecast, citing strong demand for jet engines and airplane parts. The company delivered third-quarter sales of $16.5 billion, up 10% from the prior year. United Technologies bumped up its forecast for adjusted profit to $7.20 to $7.30 per share in 2018, versus previous guidance of $7.10 to $7.25, the company said in a statement. Shares rose 2.87% to $130.03 per share Tuesday.

Verizon (VZ), the parent company to Yahoo Finance, delivered quarterly profit and revenue above expectations. Third-quarter net income rose to $5.06 billion, or $1.19 per share, from $3.74 billion, or 89 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue increased 2.8% to $32.61 billion. The stock rose 4.07% to $57.22 per share at market close Tuesday.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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