The Dow was down 0.25% at 15,444 with less than half an hour to the close on Wall Street, dragged down by Coca Cola, after the beverage giant reported second quarter results that failed to meet expectations on the revenue front.
The banking sector moved lower despite Goldman Sachs joining JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup by comfortably beating estimates for both earnings and revenue.
US second-quarter corporate earnings are now coming through thick and fast, with Yahoo reporting after the close tonight, and Dow-components Bank of America, American Express and IBM all reporting tomorrow, along with NASDAQ big guns Intel and ebay.
Despite this fast-flowing stream of quarterly reports, the focus will not be entirely on the corporate level tomorrow and this is because Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress will be grabbing the attention of investors. His words will be closely examined for any hints at what the future may hold for the Fed’s monthly asset purchases.
We know that Mr Bernanke has said the decision to taper or not will be based on incoming economic data, but it will be fascinating to hear how he is interpreting the data we have seen. Housing continues to show strength and manufacturing has been picking up, but unemployment remains elevated and retail sales data failed to match the market’s expectations earlier this week.