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US: Stocks end banner October on down note

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished a banner October on a down note Friday, as shares of Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant plunged again.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 17,663.54, down 92.26 points (0.52 per cent) for the day, but up 8.5 per cent for October.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 10.05 (0.48 per cent) to 2,079.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 20.53 (0.40 per cent) to 5,053.75 Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, said US stocks were "consolidating" after the October equity surge and ahead of the monthly jobs report and other key data next week.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International slumped 15.9 per cent as it announced it was severing ties with mail-order pharmacy Philidor RX, which has been criticized for predatory pricing of drugs.

Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron rose by 0.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively after reporting earnings that were much lower than a year ago, but still better than expectations. Both companies said they were cutting capital spending due to lower oil prices.

Baidu, China's answer to Google, surged 10.9 per cent despite a slump in profit as earnings per share came in 12 per cent over expectations and the company said it expects a new travel services partnership to help drive future revenue.

CVS Health fell 4.8 per cent on disappointment over the pharmacy chain's 2016 outlook. Credit Suisse said the projections for 10-14 per cent earnings-per-share growth suggests "momentum has slowed."

Drugmaker AbbVie bolted 10.1 per cent higher as third-quarter net income more than doubled to US$1.2 billion due to strong sales of the arthritis medicine Humira and other drugs.

Online travel site Expedia jumped 7.3 per cent as third-quarter net income rose 7.6 per cent to US$283.2 million behind higher booking and advertising revenues.

Online professional networking site LinkedIn surged 11.0 per cent on a 37.2 percent rise in third-quarter revenues to US$779.6 million.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.14 per cent from 2.18 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.93 per cent from 2.96 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP