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If there was ever a day to bury your head in the sand, today was it! After shaking off earnings pessimism and ending relatively flat the day prior, the broad-based S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) was roasted over an open fire pit by investors who sent it screaming lower because of weak quarterly earnings reports and additional credit downgrades in five regions of Spain by Moody's. According to Reuters, 63% of the 145 companies that have reported thus far within the S&P 500 have missed Wall Street's revenue estimates. The S&P 500 ended the day down 20.71 points (-1.44%), to 1,413.11.
The day began with a nasty chemical reaction offered by DuPont (NYSE: DD ) . The reaction -- mixing skittish investors with a big drop in profits -- resulted in an explosive move lower that ultimately saw the company lose 9% on the day. DuPont earned just $0.01 including one-time charges for the quarter, reported a 9% decline in revenue, and announced it will lay off 1,500 employees over the next 12 to 18 months to reduce expenses by up to $450 million annually. Does anyone have the chemical formula for a Band-Aid?
Monster Beverage (Nasdaq: MNST ) received its second straight disaster du jour award, falling an additional 10% after perpetuating yesterday's losses. We learned today that the scope of the Food and Drug Administration's investigation will stem all the way back to 2004, and the prospects for increased regulation and uncertainty are absolutely increasing. The market very much dislikes uncertainty, and as I asserted earlier today, until we have a better understanding of the FDA's findings, owning Monster is a very risky proposition.
Regional banks weren't spared today, either, with Regions Financial (NYSE: RF ) ending lower by 8% following the release of its third-quarter results. Although Regions' profits nearly tripled to $0.21 per share from $0.08 per share, investors chose to beat the bank up over an 11-basis-point drop in its aggregate loan yield and an 8-basis-point fall in net interest margin. Personally, I feel Regions has done a great job finally paying off its TARP loans and should be commended for another quality quarter.
If there was one bright spot today, it came from Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR ) . While nearly every other stock was being sucked down a whirlpool, the home appliance maker soared $7.50, or nearly 9% following stellar third-quarter earnings results. Thanks to substantial price increases and improved operating efficiencies, Whirlpool was able to crush Wall Street's EPS expectations by $0.20 in spite of a 23% reduction in net income versus last year. Whirlpool also boosted its full-year EPS guidance to a range of $6.90-$7.10 from its previous forecast of $6.50-$7.00. I'd call that a clean sweep for Whirlpool.
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