IBM Hits Dow, Broader Indexes Turn Green


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IBM weighed on the blue-chip average, but the broader S&P 500 turned positive as traders mulled data and corporate earnings.

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Today's Markets

As of 3:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.4 points, or 0.29%, to 15329, the S&P 500 rose 6.2 points, or 0.36%, to 1728 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 11.5 points, or 0.3%, to 3851.

Optimism over a deal in Congress -- and excitement for a reprieve from Beltway news -- sent the markets surging on Wednesday. The S&P 500 extended those gains on Thursday, rising above its record closing value. The broad-market barometer still remains fairly from from its all-time intraday high.

With earnings season revving up, corporate news took the spotlight on Thursday. IBM (NYSE:IBM) posted a beat on the bottom line, but disappointing sales sent shares of Big Blue tumbling. The selloff is enough to shave some 80 points off of the price-weighed Dow.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) weighed in with mixed results too, sending shares of the newly-minted Dow component stumbling. Fellow blue-chip American Express (NYSE:AXP) revealed better-than-expected results, while Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) rallied on the back of upbeat quarterly profits.

Earnings from Google (NYSE:GOOG) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) are due out after the closing bell.

On the economic front, the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to 358,000 from a downwardly revised 373,000 the week prior. Economists expected the number of claims to fall to 335,000 from an initially reported 374,000. The Labor Department said there wasn’t a noticeable increase in claims from non-federal workers who were affected by the partial government shutdown.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's gauge of manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region is forecast to have slumped to 15 in October from 12.6 the month before. Readings above 0 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction.

Both reports will be valuable in helping economists determine when the Federal Reserve will begin paring back its vast bond-buying program. Standard & Poor's estimated Wednesday the government shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion. That means the central bank might have to keep its foot on the accelerator longer than initially expected, several investment bank economists said.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 66 cents, or 0.65%, to $101.64 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.53% to $2.688 a gallon. Gold surged $35.20, or 2.8%, to $1,318 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.48% to 3001, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.14% to 6562 and the German DAX slumped 0.56% to 8797.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 jumped 0.83% to 14587 and the Chinese Hang Seng slipped 0.57% to 23095.

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