Oct. 15 - Summary: Investors get edgy with the debt ceiling expiration less than 48 hours away as lawmakers still far apart; Weak outlooks from Intel, Wal-Mart, Yahoo; Citigroup misses, Johnson & Johnson beat; Apple prepares high-end future. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The waiting game continues in Washington and investors are starting to get fed up with the debt ceiling deadline less than two days away. The selling was indiscriminate. Manufacturer 3M, personal care giant Procter & Gamble, tech titan IBM, and fast-food leader McDonald's - all among the top blue chip decliners. Even the Federal Reserve is on edge. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher thinks a deal will get done but says the Central Bank is ready to act, just in case. SOUNDBITE: RICHARD FISHER, PRESIDENT, DALLAS FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We have our own contingency plans as to what we can and cannot do I won't discuss them. But I think you can assume that from a standpoint of preserving market stability and preventing market chaos, which is important for us to achieve the goals that we've been given, our mandates: price stability, assist with the achievement of full employment, that can't be done if there's chaos in the marketplace. So what we do have a capacity to do certain things." That reassurance didn't help - the Dow and the S&P 500 still tumbled for the first time in five session. Besides worrying about the breakdown of talks in D.C. After the close, Wal-Mart guides fiscal year revenue forecasts lower. Its CFO says global sales have slowed faster than thought. Intel's forward guidance shows the chip maker continues to struggle with a slump in PC sales. And, Yahoo's outlook was at the low of expectations as ad revenues remain under pressure. Earlier, Citigroup lagged forecasts. Third quarter results were hurt by weakness in consumer banking, sluggish bond trading after the Fed decided not to change its bond-buying program, and a slump in its mortgage business. Coca-Cola hit earnings targets thanks to a slight jump in U.S. demand. Apple is looking to polish up its upscale image, pouching Burberry CEO Angela Ahnrendts to lead its strategy for retail and online sales. By the way, official invitations went out today to the media for an October 22 press event. New iPads are expected to be revealed. Wrapping up the day in Europe - markets finished the session with gains.