Stocks fall in early trading on mixed earnings

November 09 05:38 2015

Stocks fell in morning trading Thursday on a mixed batch of earnings reports and as investors were looking ahead to Friday’s eagerly anticipated jobs report. Wall Street also continued to weigh Wednesday’s testimony from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that pointed toward a possible December rate hike. The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 50 points, or 0.3%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.6%.635588057797852985-EPA-USA-NEW-YORK-STOCK-EXCHANGE-70583997

Facebook (FB) shares surged more than 5% to a record high after reporting strong earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. Shares of Whole Foods (WFM) tumbled 5% as the supermarket chain reported disappointing earnings amid increase competition for organic and natural foods.

In testimony before Congress, Yellen said the economy is “performing well” and that a December interest rate hike is a “live possibility,” although she stressed the decision hasn’t yet been made and will depend on how the economy performs in the coming weeks. “Even with weak data, Fed rhetoric increasingly points toward a December lift-off,” DBS Group Research said in a daily commentary. The report said it was only a week ago when markets lowered the odds of a December rate hike due to poor data. “Markets have had to adjust expectations rapidly.”

Overeseas, Asian stocks were mostly higher as confidence grows that China’s stimulus efforts have succeeded in stabilizing the economy. China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 1.8%, to close at 3,522.8.  Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said stability in China’s economic data, such as retail sales and Chinese manufacturing indicate Beijing’s stimulus policies are starting to have an effect in supporting growth.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 189.5 points, or 1%, to close at 19,116.4 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stayed essentially flat, losing 2.53 points to close at 23.051. European benchmarks lost ground, with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 0.5%, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.2% and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.7%.