Oct. 30 - Summary: Mobile ads drive better-than-expected results at Facebook; Fed hints at slower economy, keeps bond buying program intact, stocks fall; Starbucks forecast met with cool response; private hiring slows to 6-month low. Conway G. Gittens reports.
U.S. stocks fell in volatile trading after the Federal Reserve said it would keep its stimulus program intact for the time being. The S&P 500 fell for the first time in five sessions, but the benchmark index, along with the Dow, did not stray far from records set the day before. More on the Fed in a few seconds, but first... Mobile ad sales were fantastic at Facebook in the third quarter- jumping a better than expected 60 percent! They generated about $880 million- part of a much better than expected earnings report. Wall Street liked those results- sending the stock up sharply in after-hours trading. Profits at Starbucks jumped 34 percent, topping expectations, while revenues were in line with forecasts. But that was overshadowed by a weaker-than-expected outlook for 2014. Back to Ben Bernanke now, The Federal Reserve extended its support for a slowing U.S. economy, sounding a bit less optimistic about growth, saying it will keep buying $85 billion in bonds per month for the time being. Two economic reports released on Wednesday supported the Fed's stimulus policy. Private-sector employers hired the fewest number of workers in six months in October, and the consumer price index showed benign inflation. With signs of a sluggish economy, some on Wall Street think the stock market is too rich, but not David Chalupnik, head of equities at Nuveen Asset Management. SOUNDBITE: DAVID CHALUPNIK, HEAD OF EQUITIES, NUVEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Compared to interest rates, low interest rates, and low inflation, we believe the market has more to go." As for stocks on the move, General Motors was up more than 3 percent. Profits were better-than-expected as its new lineup of pickup trucks boosted North American results. But shares of Yelp dropped 2.6 percent one-day after the business-search website reported a wider third-quarter loss. In Europe, stocks were little changed, sitting near five-year highs.