Stocks End Mixed Despite Some Upbeat Economic Data


Stocks ended mixed in dull trade Friday despite some heartening economic reports.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, the Nasdaq dipped 0.2% while the Dow Jones industrial average edged up a fraction. Volume fell on both major exchanges, according to preliminary data.

The averages started out sloppy, hitting their worst levels before lunchtime. But even at the day’s low, the Nasdaq was only off 0.3% and the S&P 500 had ceded 0.5%.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary October consumer sentiment index climbed to 83.1, its highest since September 2007, from September’s 78.3.

Also, producer prices rose 1.1% in September, less than August’s 1.7% climb. Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI was flat — a bit better than the 0.2% rise expected by analysts, according to Econoday.

Texas Capital Bancshares (TCBI)dived 6% in huge volume. It was the stock’s worst sell-off in at least a year, but it found support at its 50-day moving average. The stock, which has a highest-possible IBD Composite Rating of 99, last tested that key support level in July.

Most bank stocks struggled Friday as two key players, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), reported quarterly earnings. JPMorgan fell 1% in heavy trade, even as its third-quarter results topped forecasts. Wells Fargo slumped 3% in big volume, as its revenue missed expectations. These banks have mediocre IBD Composite Ratings.

Hain Celestial (HAIN) slumped 3% in huge volume. The producer of natural and organic foods soared 26% in the week ended Aug. 24, but now has given back most of that gain. Hain undercut its 50-day line Tuesday and now stands about 8% below it. The stock has an IBD Composite Rating of 92 out of a best-possible 99.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) dropped 6% in fast trade, falling under its 50-day line. The biotech has been volatile as investors digest some clinical trial data for a cystic fibrosis treatment. Vertex, which has a 92 IBD Composite Rating, has been consolidating since May.

Trucking fleet operator J.B. Hunt (JBHT) shot up 7% in almost four times its normal pace of business. Third-quarter earnings were a penny short of the consensus estimate. But revenue rose more than expected and the company’s biggest division, its intermodal unit, saw operating income surge 25%. The stock is climbing the right side of a base that began more than three months ago.

Celgene (CELG) ended with a 1% gain in average volume. An earlier gain of 3% couldn’t stick. Celgene announced that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its lung cancer treatment, Abraxane. The company said it expects decisions on the drug in Japan, Australia and New Zealand next year.

The IBD 50 stock has pulled back from its Oct. 5 high, but remains 9% above a 72.10 buy point from a cup-with-handle base.

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