Stocks did their best to battle back today after taking a hit from Merrill Lynch's dismal quarterly report, Bloomberg reports. Most of the losses were made up by the bell thanks to growing hopes of an October 31 rate cut from the Fed. The Nasdaq fell 24.5 to 2,774.76, the S&P 500 was down 3.71 to 1,515.88, and the Dow ended down 0.98 at 13,675.25.
Merrill's loss—it had $8.4 billiion in writedowns—was the biggest in company history, notes Bloomberg. Third-quarter profits for financial companies in the S&P have dipped by an average of 25%, thanks to the housing slump. "Today is really setting up to be very symbolic of what's going to trouble the market," said an investment manager. "We may see more pain before we see gain."