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Daily Scan: Stocks fall at end of day; Wikileaks releases CIA director's emails

By NexChange
Capital Markets

Updated throughout the day

October 21

Good evening. U.S. stocks dipped at the end of Wednesday after holding steady most of the day. The Dow ended with a 0.3% loss, the S&P 500 fell 0.6%, and the Nasdaq dropped 0.8%. The health care sector took a hit after Valeant Pharmaceuticals was called a "pharmaceutical Enron" by Citron Research. General Motors reported $1.4 billion in profits for the third quarter, surpassing expectations. But, the car manufacturer did report a heavy $575 million charge last quarter as part of its $900 million settlement over criminal charges about its defective ignition switches. Boeing reported earnings of $1.7 billion last quarter, a 25% increase from the same time last year.  The Mortgage Banks Association application index is up 9% year-over-year -- but it's been volatile of late due to regulatory changes. Housing has been a bright spot this year -- though the refinancing boom appears to be over. All this comes in time for "Back to the Future Day" Wednesday, or the day that Marty McFly travels to in "Back to the Future Part II." When Marty travels to October 21, 2015 from 1985, he sees a number of technological advances including big screen TV and video chats. Seems like we're right on track.

Here’s what else you need to know:

WikiLeaks releases CIA director's emails. John Brennan's personal email account was reportedly hacked this week by a high school student. The Daily Beast

Chinese diplomats shot in Philippines. Two Chinese diplomats were killed and a third wounded in a restaurant in Cebu. A woman who works at the consulate and her husband have been arrested. BBC

Joe Biden will not run for president. Biden announced in the White House rose garden that it is too late for him to mount a successful campaign for the Democratic nomination. While Biden won't be a candidate, he said that he will be very vocal throughout the election, and that the next president needs to continue President Obama's work. Biden spoke about the need for more affordable college educations, relief for the middle class, and an end to bipartisan politics. The vice president says that he will focus heavily on cure for cancer as he wraps up his time in office. Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer in May.

Speaker election date set. Current Speaker John Boehner announced that the internal Republican election for speaker will take place Oct. 28, and the floor election will be October 29. After chatting with the GOP Tuesday, Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan may be the front runner. Politico

Pearson stock drops. The former owner of the Financial Times saw its stock fall 18% Wednesday after it announced that its earnings would be worse that expected. The company blames lower U.S. college enrollment on the slump. Reuters

Syria's President Assad makes surprise trip to Moscow. This marks Asad's first known trip outside Syria since the uprising began in 2011. Assad went to visit President Putin secretly Tuesday evening to say thank you for Russia's support in battling rebel forces; the Kremlin released photos on Wednesday. Middle East watchers suggest that Moscow has now supplanted Iran as Syria's No. 1 ally.

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