U.S. Stocks Fall as Earnings Season Continues
Stocks Decline Amid Earnings Reports
U.S. stocks are experiencing a decline on Wednesday as corporate earnings reports continue to pour out. The main indices on Wall Street closed in a muted fashion on Tuesday, with the Dow gaining just 13 points, while the S&P fell marginally and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.3%. At 11:08 ET (15:08 GMT), the Dow was down 145 or 0.4%, the S&P was down 0.7%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.7%. Investors are carefully weighing stronger-than-expected retail sales and a flurry of earnings reports.
Escalation of Middle East Tensions
Tensions in the Middle East were heightened Wednesday after a missile strike on a Gaza hospital resulted in the death of hundreds of Palestinians. Palestinian officials blamed the Israelis for the strike, while Israel claimed that a failed rocket launch by Palestinian militants was responsible. President Joe Biden’s planned summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was canceled, and Biden’s visit to Israel for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet took place under strained circumstances.
Anticipation of Netflix Earnings
Earnings season continued on Wednesday, with investors eagerly anticipating reports from streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:) and electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:), both scheduled to be released after the closing bell. Investors will be particularly interested in Netflix’s crackdown on password-sharing, which is expected to have boosted subscribers by about 6 million in the third quarter. There is speculation about potential price increases as a means to further increase revenue.
Mixed Housing Data
New housing starts came in slightly lower than expected at 1.36 million annualized in September, although this was an improvement from the previous month. Building permits for September were slightly higher than expected at 1.47 million, but still down from the prior month. The housing market remains a key indicator of economic health, and the Federal Reserve will closely consider this data when making decisions about monetary policy.
Oil Prices Soar After Gaza Hospital Blast
Oil prices experienced a significant surge on Wednesday following a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital. This incident has renewed concerns about potential disruptions to crude supplies in the oil-rich region due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The crude market received a boost after data from the indicated a substantial decrease of 4.4 million barrels in U.S. inventories for the week ending October 13, alleviating worries about reduced demand from the world’s largest consumer. Official data from the is expected later in the session.
(Oliver Gray contributed to this article.)