Stocks dipped for the second day in a row today following last week's incredible bull run. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) finished the day down 55 points, or 0.4%, as earnings season kicked off after hours.
Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , often seen as an economic bellwether, were up about 1% in after-hours trading after its earnings report came out, as earnings per share of $0.06 matched the Wall Street consensus. Revenues, however, beat expectations of $5.6 billion, coming in at $5.89 billion. That was a 1.5% drop, but the aluminum maker managed to swing to a profit from a $0.03 EPS loss a year ago, thanks to cost-cutting initiatives. Alcoa sees 7% growth in the aluminum market this year, up from 6% in 2012.
Consumer debt levels in November reached a new record high again, as borrowing for cars and education expanded by $15.2 billion total. Credit card debt grew more slowly, however, and has actually dropped 16.5% since the height of the recession four years ago. American Express and Visa both posted modest gains on the news.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) continued to feel the heat from yesterday's battery fire in one of its new 787 Dreamliner jets, as shares fell 2.7%.The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the situation, which is not the first time a problem has been reported with the new model. To make matters worse, United Airlines, the only domestic airline to take possession of a 787 so far, said today that it found improperly installed wiring in the same area that caught fire on the Japan Airlines jet yesterday. This issue definitely looks like a growing headache for Boeing, as only 30 of the 800 Dreamliners ordered have been delivered to date.
Telecoms also dragged down the Dow, as AT&T (NYSE: T ) reported selling more than 10 million smartphones in Q4 2012, a new record, b0ut only a 6% improvement from a year ago. Ma Bell also said the growth was driven by Apple and Android devices, and analysts fear AT&T could be taking a hit on margins as the service providers shell out big bucks to subsidize the high-end phones. Shares fell 1.7%, and rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) took the news even worse, tumbling 2.4%. Big Red also said yesterday that it would take $9 bilion to $10 billion in charges for Q4, mostly related to pension liabilities, and that it expected 2013 growth to be flat.
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