(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a lower note, reversing gains, as investors weighed the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement and corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 Index lost 0.31 percent to end at 1,408.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.19 percent to finish at 13,077.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.29 percent to close at 2,981.70.
"Economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months.Growth in employment has been slow, and the unemployment rate remains elevated," according to the Federal Reserve's statement on monetary policy.
"If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities," the Fed said. The central bank reiterated that "exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015."
New home sales - which measures the annualized number of new single-family homes that were sold during the previous month - rose to a two-year high to 389,000, better than economists expectations of 385,000 for September.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: BA, LLY, FB, NFLX, DOW, MNST, GLW, DCI, TPX
In corporate news, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), the aerospace giant raised its 2012 forecast following better-than-expected quarterly earnings, driven by strong commercial airplane deliveries. Shares closed slightly lower.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) dropped 2.72 percent after the pharmaceutical giant slashed its forecast for 2012 following weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings, as patent expirations of anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa continued to drive lower revenue and margins.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) surged 19.03 percent after the social-networking company announced better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the third quarter.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) slumped 11.89 percent after the online video-rental service company posted weak quarterly streaming subscriber additions in the U.S. and issued downbeat outlook.
Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) gained 4.66 percent after the company reported lower profit and announced plans to slash 2,400 jobs and close plants.
Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST) jumped 16.72 percent after the company responded to inquiries and media reports related to a lawsuit that has been filed against the company by the family of 14-year old Anais Fournier, who died last December. Monster said its products are no way responsible for the death of Fournier and intends to defend the lawsuit.
Corning Inc. (NASDAQ: GLW) slumped 9.32 percent after the specialty glass maker posted a 36 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to lower sales from most of its segments. The company also said it was likely to implement selected cost reductions, including modest job cuts.
Donaldson Co. Inc. (NYSE: DCI) retreated 2.00 percent after the maker of filtration systems reduced its earnings and sales guidance for the full year, blaming weakening of its end markets.
Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) slumped 19.49 percent after the mattresses maker lowered its guidance for the full year.
European markets ended in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.27 percent to close at 7,791.50. France's CAC40 rose 0.59 percent to finish at 3,426.49. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.12 percent to end at 5,804.78.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index inched up 0.07 percent to end at 2,115.99. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.67 percent to finish at 8,954.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.31 percent to close at 21,763.78. India's BSE Sensex was shut for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures dropped 1.23 percent to $85.60 per barrel, and natural gas futures declined 2.72 percent to $3.439 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures shed 0.40 percent to $1,702.6 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.10 percent to $31.76 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.22 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2958. The British pound added 0.46 percent against the greenback to 1.6026, while the dollar slipped 0.04 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.8200.