Wall Street's Top Stories For Friday, Oct. 19th

Stocks opened in positive territory as they tried to rebound from yesterday's big selloff. The early strength was attributed to various earnings reports as well as a rebound in Asian stocks, which received a vote of confidence from China's central bank. Throughout the morning the averages moved in a narrow range, but as the European exchanges closed, the gains in the U.S. began to dissipate. The afternoon saw the Nasdaq renew its swoon, pulling the S&P into the red with it as the market limped into the close.

In the U.S., existing home sales were weaker than expected in September. Sales fell 3.4% to a 5.15M unit rate, which marked a sixth straight monthly drop. In China, stocks in the Shanghai composite were weak at the outset of trading after Q3 GDP growth was reported to be a bit lower than expected at 6.5%. However, stocks reversed course and finished more than 2.5% higher after a number of Chinese officials released statements calling for economic calm and media reports suggested the government is considering additional stimulus measures. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is up 4 rigs from last week to 1,067.

Shares of PayPal (PYPL) jumped 9% after the company reported better than expected third quarter results, noting that Q3 total payment volume grew 24% year-over-year. In addition, the company reported that Venmo, its social payments platform, grew 78% in the quarter in terms of transaction volume processed...

American Express (AXP) shares rose about 4% after the credit card giant reported better than expected Q3 earnings and revenue and raised its guidance for FY18...

Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) shares finished 4% lower after the company reported quarterly results and CEO Lourenco Goncalves made a series of controversial comments on the company's quarterly conference call. He said some analysts and short-sellers don't understand Cliff's business or even their own businesses, calling them "an embarrassment to your firms." The CEO also said that "these kids that play on computers and someone else's money, we are going to buy back stock. We are going to screw these guys so badly that they just won't be able to quit. They will have to commit suicide"...

Shares of AIG (AIG) slipped 3% after the insurer said it expected to report Q3 pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, of roughly $1.5B-$1.7B...

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