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Daily Scan: Stocks slip slightly; Massachusetts regulators go after Fidelity

By NexChange
Capital Markets

Updated throughout the day

October 26

Stocks slipped slightly Monday, with the Dow slipping 0.1% with the fall of oil prices. The Nasdaq gained 0.1%, and the S&P 500 lost 0.2%. Oil prices fell to $43.85/barrel. Earnings for the third quarter are looking shaky -- especially for manufacturing firms where demand is slowing. Companies continue to indulge in share buybacks to boost earnings per share comparisons. Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, reports that nearly one-quarter of the companies that have published earnings so far (172) have bought 4% of their outstanding stock. Leading the buyback policy: Microsoft, which absorbed $4.8 billion in stock.  Apple, which reports Tuesday, bought back $10 billion last year. Also reporting this week: UPS, another economic bellwether, Exxon, Twitter, Alibaba, and more. ... The Federal Open Market Committee convenes. Goldman Sachs says no rate hike until December, but only with 60% confidence. Before the Fed policymakers convene on Tuesday and Wednesday, they will get word on new home sales in September. Look for a slight drop to 549,000 from 552,000 in August, seasonally adjusted. The other big numbers: third quarter GDP on Thursday and personal income and spending on Friday.

Here’s what else you need to know:

Fidelity in trouble for "unethical" behavior. Massachusetts regulators filed a complaint Monday against Fidelity Investments for allowing unregistered investment advisors to trade. Fidelity says that it does not believe it violated any laws or regulations. One unregistered advisor allegedly received about $732,000 in advisory fees over 10 years to conduct 28,958 trades for 20 Fidelity customers. Wall Street Journal

Valeant defends itself. The big pharmaceutical company said on a conference call Monday that it had found "no evidence whatsoever" of any illegal activity in the company. It also created a new board committee to review the specialty pharmacy relationships it disclosed last week, as well as the report of wrongdoing from the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal

White House, Republicans near deal on budget. The deal would be one of John Boehner's last important pieces of law to go through the House before he resigns in two weeks as leader. The agreement would boost the federal debt limit so the government doesn't have to shut down. It still needs to get support from Democrats and a few Republicans. Wall Street Journal (paywall)

Seventh high school football player dies. Andre Smith died of "blunt force head injuries to due a football accident" in Illinois Friday. The 17-year-old senior is the seventh high school player to die this year. Last year five students died of causes directly linked to football, and six others died of indirect causes, such as heat stroke or water intoxication. CNN

University of Mississippi to remove Confederate flag. Ole' Miss has stopped flying the state's flag on campus because it includes the stars and bars. Students at the universit

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