Stocks resumed their October swoon, with most major benchmarks opening lower and declining throughout the session as investors worry that the global economy is weakening. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) closed with substantial losses and have canceled out their gains for the year.

Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow (2.41%) (608.01)
S&P 500 (3.09%) (84.59)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Technology shares were punished, with semiconductor stocks leading the decline. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (NASDAQ:SOXX) fell a whopping 6.6%. Utility stocks were defensive havens today, with the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT:XLU) climbing 2.4%

As for individual stocks, Boeing (NYSE:BA) was a rare bright spot, rising following a strong earnings report, but United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) fell on concerns about its international business.

Falling stock chart superimposed over digital map of the world

Image source: Getty Images.

Boeing sees booming demand for aircraft

Boeing reported better-than-expected third-quarter results and raised its guidance for the full year as the aircraft manufacturer continues to see strong demand for its commercial and military aircraft. Shares closed up 1.3%.

Revenue grew 3.8% to $25.1 billion, beating the analyst consensus of $24 billion. Non-GAAP earnings per share soared 37% to $3.58, compared to the $3.47 Wall Street was expecting.

The revenue gains were due to 13% revenue growth in its defense, space, and security segment and 14% growth in global services. Commercial aircraft revenue was down about 1% despite strong demand and order growth, as the company struggled with supplier problems in the quarter. Operating margin in the commercial business improved 3.4 percentage points to 13.2%, though, boosting earnings.

Looking forward, Boeing raised its estimate for full-year revenue by $1 billion to a range of $98 billion to $100 billion. Guidance for non-GAAP EPS was raised by $0.60 to $14.90-$15.10.

Boeing said it continues to see strong growth trends in commercial aviation, with increasing passenger traffic and a healthy cargo market. Coming on top of some big recent defense contract wins, the company's growth prospects continue to strengthen, a fact appreciated by investors today.

UPS falls on concerns about tariffs

Investors scrutinize the results of certain companies that can give clues to where the economy is going, and although UPS met earnings expectations, commentary on its international business gave them cause for concern. Shares fell 5.5%.

Revenue for the third quarter rose 7.9% to $17.44 billion, barely missing expectations for $17.49 billion. Adjusted earnings per share of $1.82 matched the analyst consensus.

The company's domestic business is growing fine, with revenue up 8.1% to $10.4 billion on daily shipments growth of 3.3% and an increase in ground revenue per piece of 5.1% thanks to price increases. International revenue grew only 3% -- or 5% on a currency-neutral basis -- and operating profit in the segment fell 5%. UPS said that in addition to headwinds from increasing fuel costs and a stronger dollar, operating profit suffered from "some economic softening related to changing trade policies." 

To be fair, the fourth quarter will be far more indicative of the condition of UPS' business and the payoff from increased investments in expanding the company's capacity to meet demand during the holiday season. Still, even a whiff of concern about the impact of trade wars was enough to send shares down in a jittery market.

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