Stocks on Wall Street were lower, but finished well off their worst levels as the market recovered nearly all of its early session losses to close slightly lower to start the week.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,054.12, -46.1, (-0.3%)
- S&P 500: 1,974.18, -4, (-0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,426.90, -5.2, (-0.1%)
And now, the top stories of the day:
1) The economic calendar was light, with just the Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index coming out this morning. The report showed that economic growth decelerated slightly in June, with the index coming in at +0.12, down from +0.16 in May. The report said, “Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index made nonpositive contributions to the index in June, but two of the four categories increased from May.”
2) The biggest stock story of the day was activist investor Bill Ackman’s announcement that his presentation on Herbalife set for tomorrow will be, “the most important presentation” of his career. Ackman is famously short Herbalife, which saw shares fall 11% during today’s trading session. And following Ackman’s announcement, CNBC personality Jim Cramer said that Ackman is going to “wipe out” Herbalife because “that’s his job. When it is your job, that’s what you do.” This announcement also comes in the wake of Herbalife superimposing Ackman’s image on a “Wolf of Wall Street” movie poster calling him the, “Worst of Wall Street.” Ackman’s presentation starts at 10 am ET, tomorrow.
3) On the earnings front, Halliburton shares closed roughly unchanged after the oilfield services company reported a 20% rise in quarterly profit. Hasbro shares were down more than 2.5% after the company reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts’ expectations.
4) Allergan, the Botox-maker that Bill Ackman is seeking to take over in conjunction with Valeant Pharmaceuticals, reported second quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations, while also announcing it would cut 13% of its workforce. Allergan also said it would execute a restructuring plan to save the company approximately $US475 million 2015 as it tries to fend off Ackman and Valeant’s takeover efforts.
5) Apple is set to report quarterly earnings after the bell tomorrow, and BI’s Jay Yarow highlighted how Wall Street has seemingly fallen back in love with the iPhone maker over the last quarter. Since its Q1 report, Apple shares are up about 26%, and Wall Street is expecting a huge autumn for the company with the company expected to release two new iPhones and an iWatch wearable product.
6) The Federal Reserve is in a black out period ahead of its July FOMC meeting next week, and Neil Dutta at Renaissance Macro published a note today that outlined just how close the Fed is to its goals. Dutta highlighted how, at the current median projection for payroll gains going forward, the unemployment rate could be closer to 5.7% at the end of this year, though the Fed currently expects the unemployment rate to be 6% to 6.1%. Dutta says this poses the risk that interest rate hikes could come earlier than markets are currently expecting.
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