The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 turned around by the end of the session, making a remarkable recovery to end at new records with minor gains. A rally in Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) shares helped to reverse the worst of the tech sector's gains, though a slump in Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock kept investors wary.
The Dow was up 0.02% on Thursday, Oct. 19, after being down just over 100 points at its session low. The S&P 500 fell 0.03%. Meanwhile, tech losses held the Nasdaq underwater, closing with a loss of 0.29%.
Adobe Systems kicked tech's downward trend to close at record highs, jumping 12% for the day. The rally was inspired by an increase in the company's guidance. Adobe executives anticipate revenue to rise by 20% in 2018. Adjusted earnings guidance was increased to $5.50 a share from $3.75.
Meanwhile, Dow component Apple declined over 2% on reports that orders for the new iPhone 8 may be less robust than forecast. Taiwan's Economic Daily newspaper reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources, that several suppliers had been told by Apple that it will cut orders for iPhone8-related components by as much as 50% for the final three months of the year. A separate report in The Wall Street Journal alleged that the Apple Watch's cell connection function was switched off in China with no warning.
Apple's shares have seen weakness in recent weeks on reports of weak demand for its upcoming iPhone X and software glitches with its latest Apple Watch.
Other tech stocks were in decline, including Netflix Inc. (NFLX) , Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) , Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and Facebook Inc. (FB) . The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) dropped 0.35%.
Travelers Cos. Inc. (TRV) , another Dow component, led index gains even after reporting that earnings took a hit on a string of hurricanes toward the end of the third quarter. Catastrophe losses totaled $455 million over the recent quarter, far higher than $89 million a year earlier. Core operating earnings of 91 cents a share declined from $2.40 a year earlier. Total net income in the quarter was $1.05 a share vs. $2.45 a year earlier.
eBay Inc. (EBAY) joined in on tech losses after the online marketplace reported mixed third-quarter financial results. For the quarter, eBay reported adjusted earnings of 48 cents a share on revenue of $2.4 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting adjusted earnings of 48 cents share on revenue of $2.37 billion.
The company said it forecasts fourth-quarter revenue of between $2.58 billion and $2.62 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of between 57 cents and 59 cents. Analysts project fourth-quarter revenue of $2.58 billion and adjusted earnings of 60 cents.
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) posted a better-than-expected third quarter. Net income of 89 cents a share was flat from a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 98 cents a share came in a penny above expectations. Revenue of $31.72 billion exceeded consensus of $31.44 billion. The telecom added 66,000 Fios internet subscribers over the quarter with revenue in the unit rising by 4.8%.
Around 15% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far, the majority of which have bested profit and sales estimates. Analysts anticipate blended earnings growth of 4.3% in the third quarter, or 2.3% excluding energy, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. Revenue is expected to rise by 4.4%.
Nike Inc. (NKE) finished slightly higher. Shares had been sharply lower earlier after Goldman analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann cut her rating to neutral from buy over concerns about near-term challenges with inventory overhang domestically and "signs of weakness" abroad, where Nike generates close to half its sales. Nike's challenges in the U.S. will require time to work through, Mann noted. Products at brick-and-mortar locations plus on Amazon.com and eBay are often sold at marked down prices to reduce persistent excess inventory, but that creates an "obstacle" for Nike.
Jobless claims fell in the past week to their lowest level since March 1973. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 22,000 to 222,000. The less volatile four-week claims average slid 9,500 to 248,250.
Manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia region jumped in October, according to the latest Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index. The measure increased by four points to 27.9 this month, according to the Philadelphia Fed. Economists expected the measure to ease to 20.2 from a previous reading of 23.8.
American Express Co. (AXP) declined after CEO Kenneth Chenault, who has led the lender for 16 years, announced he would be stepping down. Chenault, 66 years old, who also serves as board chairman, will be succeeded by Vice Chairman Steve Squeri on Feb. 18, the New York-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Squeri, who oversees operations including technology as head of the global customer services group, has worked at American Express since he took a management position in the traveler's checks business in 1985.
AmEx on Wednesday posted 19% growth in third-quarter profit. Net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.50 a share, outpaced the $1.48 average of analysts surveyed by FactSet as cardholder spending climbed. The company said it expects earnings for the year of $5.80 to $5.90 a share, while analysts expect earnings of $5.74
So who is the new CEO of American Express?
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) rose 1.9% on Thursday after lymphoma therapy drug Yescarta received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Gilead acquired the drug when it bought Kite Pharma in August for $11.9 billion. Yescarta is expected to tally $1.7 billion in sales over the next five years.
MongDB Inc. (MDB) rocketed nearly 30% higher in its market debut Thursday. The database software developer had priced its initial public offering at $24 a share on Wednesday evening, a level it quickly blew past. The company is now trading at nearly $30 a share. MongDB trades on the Nasdaq.
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