Rotten Earnings Drive Market Down

On the 25th anniversary of Black Monday, stocks are crashing again today. While the drop-off isn’t nearly as steep this time, it was a grim way to close out the first full week of Q3 earnings.

Poor earnings seem to be the thing that’s driving the market down, in fact. Several blue-chip companies missed the mark today. As a result, all three major U.S. indices were down more than 1.5% as of 2:45 p.m. eastern time.

The Nasdaq was leading the decline, falling 2.2%. The S&P 500 has shed 1.75%, while the Dow was down 218 points – or 1.6%.

Here are a few of the more notable earnings reports that failed to meet expectations:

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD): Weak sales made for a bad quarter at the world’s largest fast-food chain. Earnings declined 3.5% from a year ago thanks in part to competition from rivals Burger King (NYSE: BKW) and Wendy’s (NYSE: WEN), both of which recently revamped their menus. Nonetheless, analysts were expecting an earnings increase from McDonald’s – a miss that is pushing shares down 4.3%.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT): Demand for personal computers is slowing, and that weighed heavily on Microsoft’s earnings last quarter. Earnings dropped 22% year over year, the company reported after the market closed yesterday. Microsoft’s struggles were in line with other PC makers – Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) profits fell 14% last quarter. MSFT shares were down an even 3% as a result of the earnings decline.

Chipotle (NYSE: CMG): Guess David Einhorn was right again. While the burrito chain’s profits increased 20% from a year ago, that improvement was less than what Wall Street analysts were expecting. This summer’s drought resulted in higher food costs for key ingredients such as corn, which weighed on the company’s profits. The earnings miss sent CMG shares tumbling 16%. The stock is now down 27% since Einhorn bashed it earlier this month.

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