eBay matched Wall Street earnings forecasts and came in a little ahead when it came to revenue. But its fiscal year outlook was at the low end of analysts’ projections.
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Card member spending was up at American Express, while delinquent accounts were down, leading to a jump in third-quarter profits.
One final piece of news on the corporate front – Citigroup has agreed to pay $285 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The original complaint was tied to mortgage-related securities at the heart of the recent financial crisis.
From a crisis of old to a crisis of new: Black smoke rising over Greece’s famed Acropolis is symbolic of the kind of violence that broke out in the streets on Wednesday. But the biggest anti-austerity protest in two years fell on deaf ears. Greek lawmakers still gave their initial approval on a new round of belt tightening.
In the United States, the economy is growing, but sputtering along, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest summary of economic conditions. Survey respondents describe economic growth as modest or slight, keeping talk of a possible recession alive.
“It’s not off the table for now, but certainly a lower probability than it was in mid-August when we were hitting all the volatility in financial markets, the uncertainty surrounding and mess surrounding the debt ceiling debate and the downgrade by S&P and European situation. The good news is it’s a lower probability today than it was a few weeks ago.”
Worries of a slowdown added to a downbeat tone to the markets, with tech leading the way down.
European bourses finished higher ahead of preliminary approval of new Greek austerity measures.
Bottom line: eBay and American Express report third-quarter results; Greek parliament is set to approve new austerity measures even as violence flares; the U.S. economy continues to grow sluggishly and Wall Street ends lower.