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Stocks close out tough quarter; Costco's gas problem; Ralph Lauren steps down

Investors are likely to be happy to say goodbye to an ugly third quarter, which saw the S&P 500 (^GSPC) sink more than 8 and a half percent going into the final day of trading in September. Stocks also went from relatively flat for the year at the end of the second quarter, but are now deeply in the red. 

Yahoo Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says a lot of factors were behind the ugly times on Wall Street the past three months, including weakness in emerging markets, credit concerns and a possible Fed rate hike

"It was really a culmination of a lot of things that have been brewing for a while," he explains. "All those things coming together, pent up selling, and we got our first correction in a few years."

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Costco gas pains

Here are some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.

Costco Wholesale (COST) The biggest warehouse retailer is reporting a fiscal fourth quarter profit that topped analysts' estimates, but revenue came up short. And as we've heard from companies throughout the year, Costco is blaming the strong dollar for the sales stumble.  Costco also says results were hurt by low gas prices. Leaving out those factors, sales at U.S. outlets open at least a year jumped 6%.

Diamond Foods (DMND) Like Costco, the California-based food processor best known for its walnuts also beat on the bottom line but missed on the top line. Diamond Foods says net sales fell almost 8% in the period and also like Costco, put the blame in part on the negative currency exchange.  Diamond also took a hit as demand for nuts declined.

Barracuda Networks (CUDA) The internet storage and security firm also had a better-than-expected profit in the quarter...but revenue was below forecasts. And once again, Barracuda points to the strong dollar for dragging down its business...noting its international sales were soft.  In addition, the company sees a slowdown in cloud-based storage demand...and it is cutting its estimate for billing growth in the next two quarters.

Western Digital (WDC) Chinese information technology firm Unisplendour is buying a 15% stake in Western Digital for $3.78 billion. The deal prices new Western Digital shares at $92.50, one third more than the stock's closing price yesterday.

comScore (SCOR) The media analytics company is merging with rival Rentrak (RENT) in a stock-for-stock deal.  The agreement will make Rentrak a wholly-owned subsidiary of comScore....and it is seen as a way to grab a bigger piece of the audience measurement business from industry leader Nielsen.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) CNBC is reporting the so-called "road show" for the company's Ferrari initial public offering could begin as early as Friday.  Fiat Chrysler is selling about a 10% stake in the famous sports car maker, and is said to be looking to raise $1billion in the IPO.

Bank of America faces big test

Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan survived a vote last week to remain chairman, but now he faces another test. The bank will submit a new capital plan for the Fed's annual stress test, after regulators only gave it a “conditional passing” back in March.

More woes for the energy sector. Chesapeake Energy (CHK) will lay off 740 workers, or 15% of its workforce. The U.S. shale driller says low energy prices are a “challenge.” 

A huge move in the fashion world. Ralph Lauren is stepping aside as CEO at the company (RL) he founded nearly 50 years ago, naming The Gap’s (GPS) Old Navy President Stefan Larsson to take his place.

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