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Stock Market Today: Dow ekes out gain for weekly win amid strong bank earnings – The Dow eked out a gain to end the week higher Friday, as Wall Street banks kicked off the earnings season with better-than-expected quarterly results, though investors had to contend with a bout of volatility amid rising geopolitical tensions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%, 39 points, and the Nasdaq slumped 1.2%, and the S&P 500 fell 0.5%. The CBOE Volatility Index, or so-called fear indicated jumped 15%.

Major Wall Street banks kick off earnings

Major Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) rallied after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results. 

JPMorgan rose more than 2% after reporting a 35% jump in earnings for third quarter, underpinned by a surge in rates that bolstered its retail banking unit’s profits.

Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), however, gave up gains to close lower. 

Earnings are expected to dominate moves in the broader market, overshadowing geopolitical tensions and the recent move in rates.  

“Focus on the earnings picture – it is what drives stocks, not geopolitics, not rates, not talking heads – earnings and if earnings are fine then stocks can rise without multiple expansion. As we have discussed, the ROW offers room for both EPS growth & multiple expansion,” Jim Bianco of Bianco Research president said in a note.

Energy stocks hitch ride on surging oil prices as US tightens sanctions against Russia

Energy stocks rose more than 2% following a surge in oil prices after the U.S. imposed sanctions on two tankers carrying Russia oil for breaching the G7’s $60 a barrel Russian oil price cap at a time when geopolitical tensions are rising as Israel prepares for a ground assault in Gaza.

APA Corporation (NASDAQ:APA), Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), and EOG Resources Inc (NYSE:EOG) were among the biggest gainers on the day.

Dollar General jumps as former CEO takes leadership reigns

Dollar General (NYSE:DG) said it had appointed former Chief Executive Officer Todd Vasos as CEO of the company, sending its shares more than 9% higher.

The move prompted cheers from Wall Street, with some forecasting a step up in the pace of investments needed to help the discount retail chain navigate a tricky consumer spending landscape.

Dollar General stock, which is down 50% year to date, is close to bottoming, Oppenheimer said in note, adding that the appointment “gives us more confidence in the intermediate-term outlook.”

Big tech, chips slip to pressure stocks

Big tech including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) pressured the broader market, while chip stocks including Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) added to the pressure amid concerns about fresh U.S. restrictions on chip exports to China. 

The White House is weighing up additional options to prohibit Chinese companies from accessing artificial intelligence chips from U.S. companies, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

Netflix slips on Wolfe Research downgrade

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares fell 1.5% after Wolfe Research downgraded the company to peerperform from outperform, citing concerns about valuations.

“If future growth falls short, we doubt that NFLX’s 50% P/E and 70% EV/EBITDA premium to the S&P would hold up,” Wolfe Research said in note, adding that 2024 average per unit expectations “look full.”

The downgrade comes just a week ahead of Netflix’s third-quarter earnings on Oct 18.

Microsoft closes $69 billion Activision acquisition

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) completed its $69 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision after receiving final approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

The UK antitrust watchdog’s approval comes after Microsoft addressed antitrust concerns by agreeing to sell Activision’s non-European cloud streaming rights to French video game group Ubisoft Entertainment.

The acquisition was completed ahead of Oct. 18 deadline.


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