Wall Street mixed on earnings reports

| October 11, 2006 | 0 Comments

The New York equities markets were mixed at midday on Wednesday after the release of some mixed earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were each 0.2 percent lower, to 11,842.04 and 1,351.44, while the Nasdaq Composite was 0.1 percent higher to 2,316.78.

Alcoa dropped 5.7 percent to $26.69 after it said Tuesday evening that profits were up 86 percent in the third quarter, a significant gain but much less than had been expected. The results were put to lower prices for aluminium and declines in automobile manufacturing and homebuilding.

Fund manager Legg Mason was 17.3 percent lower on a warning that earnings in its second quarter would be substantially lower than has been estimated. Merrill Lynch cut its recommendation on Legg from “buy” to “sell”. The news, coupled with an offer from Bank of America that gives 30 free trades per month to customers with $25,000 in bank deposits with BofA, sent other brokerages lower. Charles Schwab dropped 5 percent to $17.16, while E*trade declined 10 percent to $22.05 and TD Ameritrade was 10.6 percent lower to $17.07.

Ag biotech and fertilizer group Monsanto was 5.1 percent lower to $44.05 on the news that its losses in the third quarter were greater than had been expected. It also said that next year’s earnings would be lower than earlier estimated.

Among gainers, drug retailer CVS added 4.2 percent to $30.97 on a preliminary third-quarter earnings report that was better than had been forecast. Insurance provider Progressive, meanwhile, was 2.8 percent higher to $25.40 on a third quarter report that showed earnings up by 34 percent in the quarter.

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