US stocks basically flat, after two straight rallies, as investors were mainly content to sit on their hands and wait to see how Alcoa’s earnings report panned out after the bell (and it wasn’t so bad after all.)
DJIA eases 6 to 9726, S&P 500 adds 3 to 1058, Nasdaq Comp rises 7 to 2110. Big Board volume’s low, again.
Family Dollar and Costo report earnings, and the former’s sharp jump in EPS shows how frugal consumers are getting. Speaking of frugal consumers, the Fed reports that consumer credit slid for a seventh straight month in August, matching the longest such move on record (in 1991.)
But most people were waiting for Alcoa’s earnings, which came after the bell, the first big name to post 3Q earnings. The aluminum giant actually posted a profit of 8c/share, when it was expected to post a loss of 9c a share. That broke a string of three quarter of losses. Still, profits were down from last year’s 3Q, when the company earned 33c/share.
It wouldn’t surprise us if corporate earnings overall turn out about roughly like that, too. Better than expected, down sharply from a year ago. And somewhere, somebody will tell you that’s a winning formula.