MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow And S&P 500 Struggle For Gains, As Nasdaq Climbs Up Modestly To End October

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Aetna, Pfizer, Archer Daniels report results

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The Nasdaq Composite inched higher, but the Dow and S&P 500 trailed the technology-laden index on Tuesday, as Wall Street attempted to close out October trading squarely in positive territory, supported by healthy quarterly results.

Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day meeting later in the session, while investors will also get fresh data on consumer sentiment.

What are stocks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8 points to 23,344, and was pressured following results from Pfizer Inc. (PFE). The S&P 500 was up less than a point at 2,573. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10 points, or 0.2%, to 6,709.

For the month, the Dow is up 4.2% while the S&P 500 is up 2.2% and the Nasdaq is up 3.5%. All three are on track for their biggest monthly percentage rise since February. Both the Dow and the S&P are set for their seventh straight monthly gain, while the Nasdaq has risen for four months.

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Read: The Dow just logged its longest period without a 1% intraday move since 1930 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-dow-just-logged-its-longest-period-without-a-1-drop-in-nearly-40-years-2017-10-30)

Check out:Here's a lower-risk strategy for an expensive stock market (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-lower-risk-strategy-for-an-expensive-stock-market-2017-10-30)

What could drive the markets?

Among companies reporting quarterly results, Aetna (AET) reported earnings thatcame in ahead of analysts' estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/aetna-shares-surge-on-q3-profit-beat-increased-2017-earnings-guidance-2017-10-31), but the stock fell 1.2%. Pfizer Inc.(PFE) also reported earnings that topped forecasts, and it lifted its 2017 earnings outlook (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/pfizer-shares-surge-on-q3-profit-beat-raised-2017-earnings-outlook-2017-10-3), but shares fell 1.4%.

Read:Company parses earnings calls to identify speech patterns that move stock prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-company-is-parsing-speech-patterns-on-earnings-calls-that-can-move-stock-prices-2017-10-11)

Under Armour Inc. (UAA) slid 11% on a revenue miss and profit warning (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/under-armour-shares-sink-after-revenue-miss-profit-warning-2017-10-31). Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)(ADM) stock slid over 6% after an earnings miss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/archer-daniels-stock-slides-2-after-earnings-miss-2017-10-31).

After the close, Electronic Arts Inc.(EA) and U.S. Steel Corp.(X) are scheduled to report. Big tech earnings are a just a day away, with Tesla Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-earnings-model-3-production-demand-under-the-microscope-again-2017-10-25).(TSLA) and Facebook Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-earnings-two-ways-the-social-networking-titan-can-grow-even-larger-2017-10-30).(FB) both due to report Wednesday. Shares of Apple Inc. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-iphone-x-supply-is-the-question-but-the-answer-may-not-matter-2017-10-30)(AAPL), which reports Thursday, closed Monday at a record high of $166.72 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-closes-at-record-high-market-cap-tops-860-billion-2017-10-30) on optimism ahead of those results.

Read: EarningsWatch--Apple, Tesla and Facebook are post-Halloween treats (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/earningswatch-apple-tesla-and-facebook-are-post-halloween-treats-2017-10-30)

In the latest economic data, U.S. employment costs rose 0.7% in the third quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-employment-costs-hit-nine-year-high-2017-10-31), while the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-prices-close-in-on-new-all-time-highs-case-shiller-says-2017-10-31) during the three-month period ending in August and was up 5.9% compared with the same period a year ago. That was stronger than the 5.8% annual gain in the period ending in July.

The Chicago purchasing managers index rose to 66.2 in October, the best reading since March 2011.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

The two-day Federal Reserve meeting, which isn't expected to yield any changes to monetary policy, begins Tuesday. Investors will watch for clues on the health of the economy and inflation as gauged by policy makers.

Read:Fed statement may have treats for the hawks and the doves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-statement-may-have-treats-for-both-hawks-and-doves-2017-10-27)

As to the next Fed chief, President Donald Trump will reveal his choice Thursday, a White House official said (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-to-announce-his-pick-for-fed-chair-on-thursday-2017-10-30). Fed Gov. Jerome Powell is tipped as the pick by several media outlets.

What are market analysts saying?

"What really matters for the market is earnings, which is what should matter, and earnings have been pretty darn good," said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Are there things that could disrupt the apple cart? Sure. There are a lot of expectations around the tax plan, so the details could disappoint, and valuations are absolutely high, even if we are seeing growth in earnings. You don't see years like this, where markets just go straight up. We're due for some kind of pullback."

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-leaning-toward-appointing-powell-to-fed-report-2017-10-27)Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Qualcomm Inc.(QCOM) slid 6.5% on a report that in The Wall Street Journal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/qualcomm-shares-slide-6-on-report-apple-may-drop-use-of-its-chips-2017-10-31)that Apple may drop chip maker's components upcoming iPads and iPhones. Apple has accused Qualcomm of using its market dominance to charge unfair royalties and block competitors.

Mastercard (MA) rose 0.6% after the company reported better-than-expected revenue and profit, with revenue of $3.40 billion, compared with analysts consensus forecasts surveyed by FactSet for revenue of $3.28 billion.

Rockwell Automation (ROK) rose 10.3% after CNBC reported that Emerson Electric(EMR) made multiple offers to buy the company. The latest offer valued the company at more than $27 billion. Emerson shares fell 2.2%.

Check out: AMD stock turns negative for year on doubts about cryptocurrency, gaming growth (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amd-stock-drops-amid-doubts-about-cryptocurrency-gaming-growth-2017-10-30)

Mondelez International Inc.(MDLZ) posted forecast-topping earnings and revenue (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mondelez-profit-jumps-81-in-third-quarter-shares-5-higher-2017-10-30) and shares rose 6.6%.

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sanmina-shares-fall-on-earnings-miss-outlook-2017-10-30) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apptio-shares-rally-as-results-outlook-top-street-view-2017-10-30)Chegg Inc.(CHGG) slid 1.8%. Losses came even after the education-focused company posted stronger-than-expected earnings and lifted guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chegg-rises-to-record-levels-after-earnings-beat-raised-guidance-2017-10-30).

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (LL) rose 0.8% despite reporting a surprise third-quarter loss and sales that came in below expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lumber-liquidators-stock-plunges-after-surprise-loss-sales-miss-2017-10-31).

Rent-A-Center Inc.(RCII) jumped 1.4% after the company said it was exploring "strategic and financial alternatives" to turn around the company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rent-a-center-to-explore-alternatives-posts-quarterly-loss-2017-10-30).

What are other markets doing?

The ICE Dollar Index was modestly up at 94.615.

Brent oil prices and U.S. crude prices were a little lower. Gold drifted south at $1,274.10 an ounce.

Stocks in Europe moved higher as a stream of earnings reports arrived. Spanish stocks again outpaced the gains with a 1% move up.

In Asia, stocks finished mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-retreats-ahead-of-boj-announcement-2017-10-30), marked by losses for the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong. But Korea's Kospi Composite Index posted a record close on blowout results for heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE).

Read:Bank of Japan leaves monetary policy unchanged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bank-of-japan-leaves-monetary-policy-unchanged-2017-10-30)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2017 10:03 ET (14:03 GMT)