US stocks struggle as earnings season kicks off

By CNN Business

Updated 6:21 a.m. ET, October 20, 2021
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11:44 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

BlackRock fails to top the $10 trillion in assets milestone

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

The Financial Times recently declared BlackRock CEO Larry Fink the "ten trillion dollar man." But it looks like the publication jumped the gun.

BlackRock (BLK) reported Wednesday that its assets under management totaled $9.46 trillion in the third quarter. Although that's up 21% from a year ago, the amount dipped slightly from $9.5 trillion in Q2.

Investors didn't seem too upset about the fact that BlackRock failed to hit the $10 trillion mark though. Shares of BlackRock rose more than 4% Wednesday, as earnings and revenue both topped forecasts.

Fink said in the company's earnings release that demand for BlackRock's exchange-traded funds, which include both actively managed funds as well as passively run iShares index ETFs, remains robust.

Investors are flocking to BlackRock's environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds in particular. Sustainable investing is one of the hottest trends on Wall Street right now, even attracting the likes of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

"Client demand for ESG remains strong, with $31 billion of inflows across our sustainable active and index strategies," Fink said. 

9:33 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Stocks open higher

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks opened in the green on Wednesday, as earnings season kicked off with JPMorgan reporting better-than-expected results.

In economic news, a key inflation indicator showed there is no end to high prices in America. Consumer price inflation returned to the 13-year high it hit earlier in the summer during the 12-month period ended in September.

9:15 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Key inflation report: Prices aren't coming back to earth anytime soon

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US inflation remains much higher than anyone would like — consumers, the White House, the Federal Reserve... In September, prices stayed high, returning to a 13-year peak after dipping a bit in August.

Consumer price inflation — one of the key inflation indicators — rose 0.4% in September, adjustefor seasonal swings, faster than in August but slower than in previous months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

Rising prices for food and shelter contributed more than half of this increase, while prices for new cars, household furnishings and car insurance also climbed. The index that tracks new car prices rose 8.7% over the 12 months ending in September, which marks the biggest jump since 1980.

Overall, inflation stood at 5.4% in the 12-month period ended in September. Stripping out food and energy costs, which tend to be more volatile, prices rose 4% over the same period, the same rate as in August.

America's annual inflation rate is the highest since the summer, which had matched the highest annual inflation rate since 2008.

Read the full story here.

8:46 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

JPMorgan CEO Dimon on record number of workers quitting: ‘That’s okay’

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said Wednesday the record number of Americans quitting their jobs is a consequence of the shock caused by the pandemic.

“People are making different decisions, they’ve moved to different places,” Dimon in response to a question from CNN during a call with journalists.

A government report released Tuesday showed 4.3 million people quit in August, the highest amount since tracking began in late 2000.

“Covid has affected their mindset. There’s more churn. That’s okay and that will normalize over time,” Dimon said.

The record number of people quitting is evidence of the considerable leverage workers have in today’s economy. Many businesses are desperate to hire, giving workers bargaining power to get raises or find jobs with higher pay.

“Wages are going up. That’s a good thing,” Dimon said.

The JPMorgan CEO added that there are many signs of a “strong consumer” and strong business environment, “dampened a little bit” by supply chain problems and other issues. 

8:47 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

JPMorgan Chase posts $11.7 billion profit

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest bank in America, reported blockbuster earnings for the third quarter Wednesday. The bank earned $11.7 billion in the quarter, an increase of 24% from a year ago which works out to $3.74 a share. Analysts were expecting a profit of $3 a share. Revenue was up slightly from a year ago and roughly in line with forecasts.

Earnings were helped by the fact that JPMorgan Chase released $2.1 billion in credit reserves during the quarter, thanks to the improving economic outlook and fewer concerns that loans would go bad.

The bank also got a lift from booming demand for initial public offerings and a surge in merger activity. JPMorgan Chase's investment banking revenue hit $1.3 billion in the quarter, a jump of 60% from a year ago.

CEO Jamie Dimon took an upbeat tone about the results, although he also pointed out two big challenges.

"The economy continues to show good growth - despite the dampening effect of the Delta variant and supply chain disruptions," Dimon said in a press release.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) were flat in premarket trading. The company will host calls for reporters and analysts later this morning. It will be interesting to see if Dimon has more colorful comments about bitcoin in store.

7:45 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Delta returns to profitability

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

Delta reported a quarterly operating profit in the third quarter, the first major US passenger airline to post earnings since the start of the pandemic.

The company earned $194 million in the quarter, adjusted for special items. That's down from $1.5 billion it earned in the quarter in 2019, the year before pandemic uprooted air travel around the globe.

But last quarter was much better than the losses it and other airlines have reported since the start of 2020. Delta's (DAL) operating losses have totaled $9.8 billion heading into this quarter.

The company reported a net income in the second quarter but that was primarily due to a final infusion of government support it and other airlines received in the quarter.

Read more here

8:09 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Boeing tells US employees Covid-19 vaccinations are mandatory 

From CNN Business' Rob McLean

Boeing issued a vaccine mandate to US-based employees Tuesday evening, as it prepares to comply with the Biden administration's rules for Covid vaccine requirements for federal contractors.

Although the rules have not yet been published, several companies have begun preparing their employees in the meantime.

“To ensure compliance with President Biden’s executive order for federal contractors, Boeing is requiring its U.S.-based employees to either show proof of vaccination or have an approved reasonable accommodation (based on a disability or sincerely held religious belief) by Dec. 8," the company said in a statement.

It remains unknown if all employees of a company that contracts with the government must be vaccinated. The Biden administration also plans to require companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccine mandates or test their employees weekly for Covid.

Boeing employs 140,000 workers worldwide. Roughly, 11 percent of those workers are based overseas, according to a company spokesperson.

6:51 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

US stocks point to a higher open

From CNN Business' David Goldman

US stock futures were slightly higher ahead of the start of earnings season, kicked off by a number of banks’ quarterly financial updates. Investors will also be looking at a key inflation report due at 8:30 am ET.

Here's where things stand as of 6:15 am ET:

  • Dow futures were up 40 points or 0.1%
  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%.
  • Nasdaq futures were 0.4% lower.

US markets fell slightly Tuesday after investors grew increasingly cautious about the pace of the economic rebound.

6:51 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Peak oil is coming. That won't save the world

From CNN Business' Julia Horowitz

The shift to clean energy is sending the oil industry into decline. But the world needs a much more ambitious plan to save the climate and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

That's according to the International Energy Agency, which said in its global energy outlook published Wednesday that more aggressive climate action is needed as world leaders prepare for the crucial COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

"The world's hugely encouraging clean energy momentum is running up against the stubborn incumbency of fossil fuels in our energy systems," Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "Governments need to resolve this at COP26 by giving a clear and unmistakeable signal that they are committed to rapidly scaling up the clean and resilient technologies of the future."

More than 50 countries and the European Union have pledged to meet net zero emissions targets. If they live up to those commitments, demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025, but global CO2 emissions would only fall 40% by 2050, far short of net zero.

In that scenario, the world would still be consuming 75 million barrels of oil per day by 2050 — only 25 million barrels per day less than today.

Read more here