Stocks are slightly higher after the Dow lost about 100 points in early trading, as earnings season gets into full swing.
Near 11:14 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 25 points, the S&P 500 was up 1 point, and the Nasdaq was up 15 points. The ratio of shares advancing to those declining on the NYSE was close to 1:1.
Stocks basically closed flat on Monday and volumes were lighter than usual. The bond market and several institutions were closed for Columbus Day.
The flat close was amid a sell-off in energy stocks and crude oil, which fell as much as 4%. OPEC’s monthly report showed that it continued to gush oil last month, and Goldman Sachs analysts repeated their “lower for longer” call for oil prices.
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Johnson & Johnson preceded its third-quarter earnings release this morning with news that it is buying back $50 billion of its own shares.
And then the healthcare giant reported profits that beat expectations, but sales that fell year-on-year, partly owing to the strong dollar.
After the market close, JP Morgan kicks off bank earnings.
In other big news, SABMiller agreed, in principle, to an offer from AB InBev worth £71 billion ($108 billion), or £44 a share ($67), a deal that would merge the world’s largest and second-largest brewers.
And following reports yesterday, Fortress Investment Group today confirmed that it’s shutting down its macro fund. Chief investment officer Michael Novogratz will retire at the end of the year with a plump $255.6 million-payout for his shares. The fund was down 17% year-to-date.
In economic data, the NFIB small business optimism report index rose 96.1 in September from 95.9. The report showed that optimism “continues to be stagnant.”