Stocks finished mixed on Tuesday, with the Dow losing ground and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gaining some ground. Earlier in the day, however, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both up over 1% before paring most of those gains into the close.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,314.3, -7, (-0.05)
- S&P 500: 1,876.7, +2, (+0.1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,225.6, +12, (0.3%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
1. The price of oil crashed on Tuesday. Crude oil fell more than 4% to less than $US82 a barrel, extending its recent slide that has taken its price down to levels not seen in almost two years. The slide in oil on Tuesday came after the International Energy Agency said that if oil prices fall to $US80 a barrel, nearly 3% of global oil production is vulnerable to cuts.
2. The tumble in the price of oil came later in the day, but this morning, the big story was the decline in government bonds. The US 10- and 30-year Treasury bonds made new yearly lows on Tuesday, with the 10-year falling below 2.2% and the 30-year falling below 3% for the first time since June and May 2013, respectively. In Europe, the German 10-year bund fell back below 0.9%, as the German economy ministry cut its 2014 GDP forecast to 1.2% from an April outlook for growth of 1.8%.
3. In the face of declining government bonds, inflation expectations continue to fall, with 5-year breakevens falling even lower on Tuesday. Five-year breakevens, which reflect the market’s expectations of future inflation, fell to 1.54% on Tuesday, indicating that the market sees inflation well below the Fed’s stated 2% target.
4. DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach, who was one of the few analysts on Wall Street that saw bond yields falling this year rather than rising, told CNBC that we’ve likely seen the bottom in bond yields this year. Gundlach also said that we’ve also likely seen the top in the stock market, with Gundlach pegging the Alibaba IPO, which happened on September 19, as the top. Gundlach told CNBC that if 10-year bond yields fell much further below 2.2% it would be a “game changer.”
5. Three major US banks reported earnings on Tuesday morning: Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo. Citigroup reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations, and also announced that it plans to exit 11 consumer-banking markets worldwide. JPMorgan reported earnings per share that beat expectations after its earnings report came out earlier than had been scheduled. Wells Fargo’s earnings were in-line with expectations.
6. The CEO of Darden Restaurants, Clarence Otis, announced that he is stepping down, with the company’s president and COO Gene Lee to take over as interim until a permanent replacement is found. Otis steps down in the wake of hedge fund Starboard Value winning all twelve seats on the company’s board following a vote at the annual meeting.
7. It was a terrible day for Lakeland Industries and Alpha Pro Tech, two stocks that have been the hottest names in the Ebola trade, as shares of both companies fell more than 20% on Tuesday. Lakeland, which makes hazmat suits, and Alpha Pro Tech, which makes protective face masks, have been two of the most popular ways that traders have been playing the recent Ebola outbreak.
8. Ireland officially killed its corporate tax loophole, known as the “Double Irish.” The loophole will close on January 1, 2015, but companies will have a transition period that lasts until 2020.