Alcoa Earnings, IMF Outlook, China Joins Bernake’s Bazooka Brigade: Market Recap

Markets closed down on Wall Street today: S&P: -0.99%, Nasdaq: -1.52%, Dow: -0.81%, Oil: +3.31%, Gold: -0.56%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $92.29 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,765.80 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 0.31% to $33.91.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

Alcoa (NYSE:AA), widely viewed as an economic barometer, beat earnings estimates today. Fiscal quarter three EPS landed at $0.03 over break-even expectations, and revenue came in at $5.83 billion, beating $5.56 billion expected.

The International Monetary Fund has cut its global economic growth forecasts and warned that U.S. and European policymakers need to address continuing challenges quickly. The slowdown in the global economy will persist unless several short-term economic challenges were addressed, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report.

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In his first deal since replacing Bob Diamond, Barclays’ (NYSE:BCS) new chief executive set the bank’s strategy firmly towards retail banking with its ING (NYSE:ING) Direct deal. Anthony Jenkins, previously head of Barclays retail banking operations, became the company’s chief executive at the end of August, after the Libor interest rate rigging scandal forced Diamond to resign. Tuesday’s takeover of ING’s British savings and loan business and its 1.5 million customers was the Jenkins’s first deal since assuming the position.

Japanese automakers Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Honda (NYSE:HMC) continue to suffer production and sales cuts in China due to a territory dispute between the two countries. Toyota has reported sales losses of 48.9 percent, while Honda sales have dropped 40.5 percent. Meanwhile, BMW sales surged 55 percent in the country. American manufacturers Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) could be eyeing the country for growth as Japanese brands lose value.

In the middle of September, markets in the United States got smacked with quantitative easing round 3. Now it looks like the People’s Bank of China is taking a page out of Ben Bernanke’s playbook by blasting liquidity into the money market. The PBoC is using a type of short-term loan called a reverse repurchase agreement — a financial instrument aimed at lowering domestic borrowing costs and helping businesses cope with the slowing economy. The latest infusion was $42.14 billion, following a $46.12 billion injection on September 25.

Investing Insights: 3 Top Stocks Kicking Off Earnings Season Today.