Last Week: Dow Rose 0.3% on Positive Earnings Reports

Week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1
Dow (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) : 15,616 (+0.3% last week, +19.2% year to date)
S&P 500: 1,762 (+1.9% last week, +23.5% YTD)
Time to pull those sweaters out of the closet and double down on your flannel wardrobe. Check out what made stocks end October on a scary note, but start November on a chill one.

1. Stocks start November with a win
The month started off nicely thanks to two solid econ reports. First, here in America, research group ISM's factory index showed that manufacturing in the U.S. increased faster than forecast in October despite the government shutdown. And across the big pond, China reported that manufacturing activity reached an 18-month high.

2. Third-quarter earnings winners
While you were busy Snapchatting, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  )  earnings impressed last quarter, with revenue up 60% from last year -- though investors were caught off guard by the drop in usage among teens. Burger King was propelled to a cholesterol-packed $68 million profit last quarter on Whoppers and its new "Satisfries." LinkedIn's 259 million users led the company to expectation-beating earnings as well.
3. And third-quarter earnings losers
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  )  earnings soured for the third straight quarter but managed to beat analysts' low expectations. The Halloween-style scare, though, was CEO Tim Cook's low projections for the should-be-iPad-filled holiday season. Merck earnings were weak as the pharmaceutical giant announced that it's cutting 8,500 more jobs. Wall Street gave Yelp a bad review after its earnings report showed a $2.4 million loss last quarter after restructuring two European websites it just bought.

4. The Fed's big announcement
Following the Federal Reserve's eight-time-a-year, two-day policy-setting meeting, Wall Street was eager to know what the central bank thinks of the U.S. economy and what it would do about its current stimulus policies. Then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke took the stage (we assume he went as Gandalf for Halloween) and neither tricked nor treated investors: He announced that the Fed will continue its "quantitative easing" policy, buying $85 million in bonds each month to keep interest rates down and thus encourage borrowing. One surprise, however, was that there was no mention from Father Fed about what impact the 16-day government shutdown had on the economy.

What MarketSnacks is checking out this week:

  • Monday: U.S. factory orders, third-quarter earnings: Kellogg, OfficeMax
  • Tuesday: ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, third-quarter earnings: DirecTV, T-Mobile
  • Wednesday: Earnings: Whole Foods, Starz
  • Thursday: Weekly jobless claims, U.S. third-quarter GDP, earnings: Monster Beverage, Walt Disney
  • Friday: U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, earnings: Nathan's Famous
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