Stocks Fall to End Strong Third Quarter

Investors are selling again as we come to the close of a strong third quarter on the stock market.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Sep 28, 2012 at 3:30PM

The last trading day of the third quarter has markets heading lower, continuing their downtrend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is down 0.37%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) has fallen 0.42%.

A slowdown in consumer spending growth didn't help the markets this morning as the U.S. Department of Commerce said purchases rose just 0.1% in August after adjusting for inflation. The other big-picture headline of the day was news that most Spanish banks are solvent, though they did have a 59.3 billion Euro capital shortfall.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is one of the Dow's biggest decliners a day after it unveiled a line of new tablets using the company's chips. The market was unimpressed, and the company will have to prove its worth in this market before investors will price any growth into the stock.

McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) fell 1.7% after Janney Capital Markets' analysts downgraded the stock to neutral on concerns over sales growth. The analysts think September's same-store sales growth could be the weakest of 2012.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) is up 1.9% after a number of analysts upped their price targets and reiterated buy ratings. The stock trades at just more than nine times forward earnings estimates, and analysts think networking solutions aren't appropriately priced into the stock.

Analysts are ruling the day today, but next week we'll enter earnings season, when the rubber hits the road. Then we can judge how the muddled economic data of the last month has affected company's bottom lines.