- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Stocks move between small gains and losses
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fluctuated between small gains and losses on Wednesday as corporate earnings news came in mixed and a potential federal default edged closer.
Yum Brands — the owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut — was the biggest decliner in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index after its earnings fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The discount retailer Family Dollar also slumped after giving a cautious earnings forecast for next year.
The number of companies reporting third-quarter earnings is picking up this week, giving investors better insight into how corporate America is doing.
Stocks have slumped this week as few signs emerged that lawmakers in Washington were moving closer to reaching a deal to resolve a budget stalemate. The government reaches the limit of its borrowing authority next week, putting its ability to pay all its bills in jeopardy.
“It looks like there has been some disappointment in the early earnings already,” said Colleen Supran, a principal at San Francisco-based Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, an investment adviser and asset management company, while the situation in Washington “looks more concerning by the day.”
The S&P 500 index was up three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,658 as of 2:25 p.m. EDT. The index lost 2 percent in the first two days of this week as concerns grew that politicians will fail to reach a deal before the government hits its debt ceiling on Oct. 17.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,826. The Nasdaq composite fell 13 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,681.
Stocks opened modestly higher as the White House prepared to nominate Janet Yellen for the top position at the Federal Reserve.
Investors expect Ms. Yellen, who currently serves as the Fed’s vice chair, to continue the aggressive economic stimulus policies championed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. President Obama is scheduled to announce the appointment at the White House with Ms. Yellen and Mr. Bernanke at his side Wednesday.
Ms. Yellen’s appointment “does add certainty, in the absence of certainty for stocks,” said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at U.S. Bank. “It perhaps keeps a little bit of a safety net under equities for the near, or intermittent, term.”
Investors got an insight into the Fed’s thinking Wednesday after the central bank published minutes from its September meeting Wednesday.
Nearly every member of the Federal Reserve thought the central bank should see more economic data before slowing its bond purchases, but worries about whether a delay would confuse markets made the decision a close call.
The Fed surprised investors with its decision to keep buying $85 billion of bonds every month to bolster the economic recovery. Many had predicted the central bank would cut back on its stimulus.
Yum Brands slumped $5.91, or 8.3 percent, to $65.40. Sales in China have grown weaker, and the company cut its full-year earnings forecast after the closing bell Wednesday. Family Dollar fell $1.66, or 2.4 percent, to $67.83.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.65 percent from 2.63 percent.
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- BERMAN & MADYOON: An Iranian-Turkish reset
- MAY: Barbarians at Jordan's gate
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq