Stocks lost ground on Monday in a session that saw little in the way of economic data as the stocks opened the day higher, fell to their lows near noon and closed with modest losses.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,002.47, -7.2, (-0.04%)
- S&P 500: 1,965.82, -2.1, (-0.1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,455.85, -19.7, (-0.4%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
1. The biggest story on Monday was news that computer giant Hewlett-Packard would split itself up into two separate businesses comprised of its PC and printer unit and its corporate hardware and services business. The PC-printer unit will be called HP and the remaining units will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Current HP CEO Meg Whitman will be the CEO of HP Enterprise and serve as Chairman of the HP board. Business Insider’s Julie Bort broke down what the two companies will look like on a standalone basis. This breakup will also result in even more layoffs from the company, with its new layoff target getting upped to 55,000.
2. GT Advanced Technologies, which makes sapphire displays, announced it would file for bankruptcy protection on Monday. GT Advanced, which last year signed a $US578 million supply agreement with Apple, said that it would remain in business. Following the announcement, shares of GT Advanced fell about 90% to trade near $US1.00.
3. The huge drop in shares of GT Advanced on Monday indicated that the market was caught largely by surprise following the announcement, and at least one analyst that Business Insider spoke to on Monday wrote that it appears possible that Apple pulled the plug on its agreement with GT. Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co., wrote that Apple had the ability to call its loan made to GT, and the GT’s cash position in June and what it reported on Monday make it seem likely that this took place. As of Monday, however, this was unconfirmed from either company.
4. It was another active day for companies involved in developing Ebola treatments, as shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals fell sharply after the stock was downgraded and after Chimerix announced that the FDA approved the company’s drug, brincidofovir, for potential use in patients with Ebola. Tekmira, which was gained more than 100% through the summer, was downgraded by analysts at Leerink, who cited the company’s lofty valuation. On Monday, a Spanish nurse tested positive for Ebola in the first case transmitted in Europe.
5. On Monday, the Federal Reserve released its latest Labour Market Conditions Index, or LMCI, a composite of 19 labour market indicators that Fed Chair Janet Yellen has cited as indicating the labour market’s broad improvement but still lingering weakness. The LMCI reading came in at 2.5 up from 2 the prior month, and this latest update follows Friday’s jobs report, which showed that nonfarm payrolls grew by 248,000 in September while the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time since the summer of 2008.
6. A report from Bloomberg on Monday said that 95% of profits from companies in the S&P 500 have been returned to shareholders either in the form of dividends or share buybacks in 2014.
7. Hilton sold the landmark Waldorf Astoria New York hotel to Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group for $US1.95 billion. As part of the deal, Hilton will continue to manage the hotel for the next 100 years.