STOCKS GO NOWHERE: Here’s what you need to know

A couple of stocks in the market moved, but the market at a whole didn’t do much.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,228.2, +12.2, (+0.0%)
  • S&P 500: 2,033.7, +0.8, (+0.0%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,905.6, +19.2, (+0.4%)

And now, the top stories:

  1. China set the stage, reporting 6.9% GDP growth for Q3, the slowest pace of growth since Q1 2009. While that was better than the 6.8% expected by economists, it was down from 7.0%. Regardless, experts remain sceptical about the accuracy of that number, and they estimate the actual pace of growth is much lower.
  2. US homebuilder sentiment hasn’t been this good since the housing market bubble. The NAHB housing market index jumped to 64 in October from 61 in September. “With October’s three-point uptick, builder confidence has been holding steady or increasing for five straight months,”NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said. “This upward momentum shows that our industry is strengthening at a gradual but consistent pace. With firm job creation, economic growth and the release of pent-up demand, we expect housing to keep moving forward as we start to close out 2015.”
  3. Oprah Winfrey bet big on Weight Watchers. In a press release early Monday, the company revealed that the talk show hosted had accumulated a 10% stake in the weight-loss assistance service. “Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for,” Winfrey said. “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.”
  4. Morgan Stanley whiffed in Q3. The Wall Street investment banking giant reported revenue and earnings that fell well short of what analysts were expecting. “The volatility in global markets in the third quarter led to a difficult environment, impacting in particular our Fixed Income business and our Asia Merchant Banking business,” CEO James Gorman said.
  5. Halliburton’s results could’ve been worse. The oilfield giant reported-better-than expected earnings despite worse-than-expected revenue. Oil companies continue to realise the pressure of low prices. “This is a challenging market, but our strategy remains the same,” CEO Jeff Miller said. “We are looking through this cycle to ensure that we are positioned to accelerate our growth when the industry recovers, and we are managing through the downturn by drawing upon our management’s deep experience in navigating through past cycles.”
  6. Hasbro sales tumbled. The toy brand reported weak sales of games and toys for girls in Q3. “If the weakness in girls’ toys is the result of competitive shifts, then there isn’t much to be done,” Oppenheimer analyst Sean McGowan said. “Other than heavy promotion or an acquisition, there is not much that Hasbro, or any other toy company, can do to change a product’s performance in the short term.”

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