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Stock Market News for October 23, 2013

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A weaker-than-expected jobs report eased investor concerns about the prospects of the Fed reducing bond buying in its next meeting, lifting the major indices higher. Consequently, the S&P 500 closed at a record high for the fourth day in a row. Meanwhile, construction spending increased in the month of August. Most of the sectors in the S&P 500 industry groups finished in the green led by materials stocks. Technology closed marginally lower after remaining on top for the two consecutive days.  

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article         
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.5% to close the day at 15,467.66. The S&P 500 added 0.6% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,754.67. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.2% to end at 3,929.566. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) edged up 1.3% to settle at 13.33. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 5.82 billion shares, lower than 2013’s average of 6.0 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners. For 71% shares that advanced, 26% declined. 

On the home front, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the widely awaited nonfarm payroll numbers. According to the report, only 148,000 employees were hired in the month of September, missing the consensus estimate by a margin of 33,000. However, unemployment rate fell marginally to 7.2% from the previous month’s figure of 7.3%. Nonfarm payrolls report was initially scheduled to be released on October 4, but was delayed due to the partial government shutdown. A tepid jobs report gives further indications that the central bank will keep pumping money into the economy at the same rate through its massive bond buying program.     
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce said construction spending increased 0.6% to $915.1 billion in August from the revised July figure of $909.4 billion. This was above the consensus estimate of an increase of 0.4%. Private construction increased 0.7% to $640.5 billion whereas public construction climbed 0.4% to $274.5 billion.
On the earnings front, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) reported third quarter numbers. The company’s earnings came in well above the Street’s estimates. Net income increased to $31.8 million from the year ago figure of $7.7 million. Revenue jumped 22% to $1.11 billion from $905 million a year earlier. Third quarter results were boosted by robust growth in subscribers, both domestic and international, assisted by original series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Despite strong quarterly results, the company’s shares plunged more than 9% yesterday.
E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) also announced its quarterly results. The company’s earnings came in above the Street’s estimates. Du Pont’s earnings increased on the back of robust sales of its components division which produces solar panels and bullet-resistant vests. Shares of the company increased 1.2% yesterday.
On the other hand, shares of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) edged lower after the company announced its quarterly results.  The company’s earnings came in marginally above expectations but revenue fell short of estimates. United Technologies’ third quarter results were affected by a slump in its demand for military aerospace products and a sluggish European recovery. However, the company pushed up the lower end of its 2013 earnings estimate.
The materials sector was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 industry groups and the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) gained 1.5%. Stocks such as Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD), The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) and Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE:SHW) added 1.4%, 1.0%, 0.5% and 1.7%, respectively. 
The technology sector was the only loser among the S&P 500 industry groups and the Technology SPDR (XLK) lost 0.1%. Stocks such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) slipped 0.3%, 1.2%, 0.4%, 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

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