Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Limping home
Stocks are on track for a losing week as we enter Friday. The three major U.S. indices are all coming off a particularly rough day Thursday, as well, with both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 shedding more than 1%, and the Dow falling 250 points. The market is chewing over key earnings from Amazon, Ford and Intel, while gearing up for another slew of quarterly results next week. On the data front, Friday brings the latest incarnation of the Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation gauge, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) measure for September. Follow live market updates.
2. Prime margins
Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon
Amazon’s operating margin is a little thicker these days. The e-commerce and cloud giant said it achieved a margin of 7.8% during the third quarter, its best showing since reporting an 8.2% margin in the first quarter of 2021. CEO Andy Jassy’s cost-cutting mission is a big part of this, and he’s not done yet, with Amazon tapping the brakes a bit on adding headcount. The market appears to like what it sees from Jassy, too. Amazon shares popped in off-hours trading.
3. Ford rough
Ford Motor Co. fuel powered F-150 trucks under production at their Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan on September 20, 2022.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images
It’s been an eventful week for Ford. The company was the first of the Detroit Three automakers to strike a deal with the United Auto Workers Union, ending a nearly six-week work stoppage that cost it $1.3 billion. (Negotiations between the UAW and GM and Stellantis continue.) Then came Ford’s earnings. While the company swung to a profit in the third quarter, its cost and quality struggles were still apparent. Then there’s the electric-vehicle business, which chalked up a $1.33 billion loss during the third quarter. In turn, citing softer-than-hoped-for customer demand, Ford postponed $12 billion in EV investment.
4. Airstrikes in Syria
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin gives a press conference during the NATO Council Defence Ministers Session at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on October 12, 2023.
Simon Wohlfahrt | AFP | Getty Images
U.S. forces launched airstrikes in Syria, targeting areas that officials said were used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the “narrowly targeted” attacks were made in self defense out of retaliation for attacks on American forces in the region. The move comes with the Middle East nearing a boiling point. Israel’s government debates launching a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip as a respose to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Iran, likewise, faces even harsher scrutiny for its support of militant groups such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Follow live war updates.
5. Big oil earnings
A Chevron gas station is shown in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 23, 2023.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Exxon Mobil and Chevron both reported quarterly earnings before the bell Friday. Each of the oil giants posted a sharp decline in profit from the year-ago quarter, even as oil prices were higher. Exxon’s results took a hit from higher costs in its chemicals business, and Chevron said its upstream business’s earnings fell nearly 40% during the quarter. The results come soon after both companies announced blockbuster deals. Exxon has agreed to buy shale player Pioneer Natural Resources and pipeline operator Denbury. Chevron, meanwhile, recently agreed to buy Hess for $53 billion.