Stocks today did not know where to go. Markets traded both sides of the fence all day and at the closing bell the Dow was off 18 points to 18,142 on light volume. For the month of October the Dow lost about 0.83% and has now posted three months in a row of negative returns. All eyes are on the election as November 9th approaches. Earnings reports and economic news seems lost in the news cycle.
While the FBI was busy throwing a monkey wrench into the presidential election, Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a dog and pony show at a neighborhood in California to tout the benefits of a combined Tesla/Solar City company. In this neighborhood, Elon revealed that the roofs on all the houses were actually solar panels even though they looked just like regular slate, asphalt or terra cotta roofs. This news was lost in the news cycle but it is significant in that combining solar with transportation with housing could be like putting ketchup and mustard on a hot dog. Its good stuff.
Merger activity in the US continues to grow. GE announced a $32 billion deal to buy oil services company Baker Hughes and CenturyLink announced a similar size deal to buy Level 3 Communications. GE’s shares were higher after analyst praised the deal while CenturyLink’s shares were whacked hard despite last night’s Seattle Sounders MLS win over Huston at CenturyLink Field.
In economic news, consumer spending for September rose by 0.5% while personal income grew 0.3% missing esitmates. The Chicago Purchasing manager index for October came in at 50.6 which badly missed estimates calling for a reading of 54.3. This reading was a 5 month low for the shytown manufacturing gauge.