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

Stocks did not do much today, trading in quite the narrow range but falling steadily from the session highs of the morning to close nearly flat. And as Q3 ends on Wednesday, US and global stocks are on track for their worst quarter in four years.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 16,047.19, +45.30, (0.28%)
  • S&P 500: 1,883.96, +2.19, (0.12%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,517.32, -26.65, (-0.59%)

And now, the top stories on Tuesday:

  1. It’s getting quite bearish out there. This morning, billionaire investor Carl Icahn released a 15-minute short film on his website titled “Danger Ahead” that bemoans tax loopholes, the political establishment, low interest rates, and stock buybacks. He even brought up Donald Trump, who he said is popular because Americans are frustrated with all the existing options. Icahn concluded that the economy is being propped up by fragile conditions that put us in jeopardy of reliving the most recent financial crises shortly.
  2. Goldman Sachs has turned a little more bearish. Chief US equity strategist David Kostin lowered his S&P 500 earnings-per-share estimate (to $US109 from $US114) and price target (to 2,000 from 2,100). “The impetus for these reductions is that our models now incorporate a slower pace of economic activity in the US and China and a lower oil price than we had been previously assuming,” he wrote in a client note Tuesday.
  3. Credit Suisse says the S&P 500 is at risk of forming a “major top“. David Sneddon, drawing on technical analysis, pointed out several indicators in a note to clients including a bearish moving average ‘death cross’ and a medium-term uptrend break. “Below 1,867 should keep the risk lower for price and “neckline” support at 1,832/20,” he wrote. “Below here would mark the completion of an important top, turning the core trend bearish.”
  4. Economic data was mixed. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that prices fell 0.2% in July compared to June, and rose 5% compared to a year ago — both below expectations. However, other indicators like existing home sales are pointing to a faster pace of home price appreciation, highlighted Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
  5. And, consumer confidence increased in September; the Conference Board’s index was 103, the second-highest reading in four years. Economists had estimated an index print of 97.5, down from 101.5 in August. The Board said optimism about current conditions improved, as the Present Situation Index rose to an eight-year high. Those who said jobs were “plentiful” rose to 25.1% from 22.1%, an eight-year high, while respondents that said they were “hard to get” increased.

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