In addition to third-quarter earnings reports, the markets had to digest the latest inflation data, September retail sales and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech making the case for more stimulus to keep the tepid economic recovery on track.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) lost 32 points, or 0.3%, to close at 11,062. GE led the blue-chip decliners after missing the Street's revenue estimate, while Dow components JPMorgan (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) were part of a wider sell-off in financial stocks.
Third-quarter earnings are once again coming in better than Street forecasts, but then revenue growth also continues to be weak, says Kenny Polcari, managing director at interdealer broker ICAP. And although the market initially liked the idea of more Fed intervention, now that QE2 is all but certain it's starting to dawn on some investors that the economy is in worse shape than they thought.
For more on Polcari's view from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYX), see the video below: