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Stocks End Mixed as Strong Earnings Offset Weak China GDP

Apple debuts latest Mac Book Pro; Zillow zapped as house purchases paused.
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U.S. stocks ended mixed Monday, while oil prices extended their near-term rally into a ninth consecutive week and investors weighed surging inflation pressures and weak China growth against a strong start to the third-quarter earnings season.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.34% points to 4,486.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.84%, to 15,021. The Dow Industrials lagged, slipping 0.10% to 35,259.

Among major market indicators, U.S. 10-Year Treasury yields edged up 1 basis point to 1.59%.

Gold edged lower to $1,765 an ounce.

China posted its weakest growth rate in more than a year overnight as a rolling power crisis helped slow third-quarter GDP growth to just 4.9%, the weakest since the pandemic trough of 2020. 

In the U.S., shares of Peabody Energy  (BTU) - Get Peabody Energy Corporation Report jumped after the company reported quarterly coal sales to customers exceeded $900 million, the highest level in seven quarters. The company said it is seeing “higher realized prices from robust seaborne coal demand.” Shares ended up 23% at $19.67.

Shares of Macy’s  (M) - Get Macy's Inc Report, were also sharply higher Monday, apparently in sympathy with reports Saks Fifth Avenue is preparing to spin its ecommerce unit in an IPO. Last week, an activist investor group took a stake in Macy’s and urged a similar move. Shares rose 18% to $28.25.

Zillow Group  (ZG) - Get Zillow Group, Inc. Class A Report saw its shares fall sharply after the company said it’s pausing its home purchases program because of difficulties finding staff to fix up houses it has bought so they can be re-sold.

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 “We're operating within a labor- and supply-constrained economy inside a competitive real estate market, especially in the construction, renovation and closing spaces,” the company said in a statement.

On Wall Street, earnings are taking center-stage this week with more than 15% of S&P 500 companies reporting September-quarter results, including tech heavyweights Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report, Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report, IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report and Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report along with Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report, AT&T  (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report and Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report.

Last week's stronger-than-expected bank earnings have lifted collective profit forecasts for the S&P 500, with analysts now looking for third-quarter earnings to rise 32% from last year to $421.4 billion.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report shares rose 1.2% as the tech giant unveiled the first redesign of its MacBook Pro laptop in at least five years.

Biogen  (BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report shares fell 4% after the drugmaker said late-stage tests of its experimental treatment of certain forms of Lou Gehrig's disease failed to meet expectations, but showed enough promise for a follow-on trial.  Ionis Pharmaceuticals  (IONS) - Get Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report, which co-developed the treatment, saw its shares fall nearly 14%.

Walt Disney Co.  (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report shares fell 3% after analysts at Barclays lowered their rating and price target on the media and entertainment group, citing slower growth from its Disney+ streaming service.

U.S. Steel Corp  (X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report shares slumped 1.2% following a 'double-downgrade' from analysts at Morgan Stanley linked to lower metals prices and the group's expansion plans.

Away from equities, Bitcoin hovered near six-month highs on Monday, holding above the $60,000 mark, ahead of the listing of the first futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the United States.

Oil prices were also back on the march, and testing the highest levels in seven years, as cold weather in Europe and China compounded the rolling power crisis in both regions and added to bets on rising crude demand in the coming months.

WTI crude futures for November delivery were marked 25 cents higher on the session at $82.53 per barrel while Brent contracts for December, the global pricing benchmark, were down 7 cents at $84.79 per barrel.