Optimism the euro zone was making progress in resolving its sovereign debt crisis has pushed the S&P 500 to the top of a two-month trading range but left it vulnerable to pullbacks. The index had risen for two straight weeks for the first time since July and recorded its best two-week performance since 2009.”The past couple of weeks have been obviously a phenomenal little run-up. The problem is it’s a delicate run-up,” said Chris Hobart, chief executive of Hobart Financial Group in Charlotte, North Carolina.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said European Union governments would adopt a five-point plan at the Brussels meeting on October 23, but “we won’t have a definitive solution this weekend,” he added.Schaeuble’s comments also sent the euro lower against the dollar and weighed on financials. The KBW bank index .BKX lost 2.6 percent. Compounding pressure on the sector were disappointing earnings from Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), which fell 6.3 percent to $24.99 and was the biggest weight on the S&P 500. <USD/>”What we are looking at today in the market is obviously a direct correlation to what is going on in Europe,” said Hobart.”Everything seems to be going well with Europe for a while, and you get this little news and it reconfirms the fears that everybody has.”The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dropped 162.84 points, or 1.40 percent, to 11,481.65. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX.INX lost 15.55 points, or 1.27 percent, to 1,209.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC declined 39.89 points, or 1.50 percent, to 2,627.96.Events in Europe overshadowed a $21 billion deal by Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N) to buy rival El Paso Corp (EP.N), combining the two largest natural gas pipeline operators in North America in a huge bet on the fast-growing market for that fuel.El Paso’s shares surged 23.8 percent to $24.25 and Kinder Morgan shares jumped 6.4 percent to $28.62.In its quarterly results, Wells Fargo missed Wall Street’s earnings estimates by 1 cent a share as interest income fell below expectations.Shares of Citigroup Inc (C.N) edged down 0.6 percent to $28.24. The bank reported higher third-quarter earnings as it set aside less money to cover bad loans and recorded an accounting gain banks can take in turbulent markets.Of the 45 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 62 percent have beaten analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“Instead of conducting the study or providing recommendations, the (group) unilaterally proposed guidelines that were so extreme that they would prevent the marketing to children of foods that most parents consider a win if their kids eat — such as yogurt, cheese sticks and even soup,” said Upton at a joint hearing of two subcommittees.Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican said the limits would “suppress free speech.”Representative Henry Waxman said the food industry spent $1.6 billion marketing to kids each year. The Democrat raised questions about assertions that the proposals would mean 700,000 lost jobs.”It’s a way not to have our kids subjected to advertising that they don’t know what to do with. They’re kids!” said Waxman. “Somebody should do something. If not government suggesting ideas, will industry act on its own?”Food, beverage and restaurant companies, which are under scrutiny for contributing to rising childhood obesity rates, oppose the administration’s attempts to limit ads to children.About 17 percent of U.S. children aged 2-19 are obese, according to data on the CDC website. Nearly one in three U.S. children are overweight and rates are rising quickly.The working group, which includes the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agriculture Department and the Federal Trade Commission, said in April that companies should end all food advertising to children unless they promote healthy fare, such as whole grains, fresh fruits or vegetables.Under that proposal, salty, fatty or very sweet foods or foods with trans fats would no longer be advertised to children aged 17 or under.But in testimony from the Agriculture Department, Dr. Robert Post backed a program from the industry’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI).”Overall, the CFBAI standards present, in many respects, a reasonable set of criteria to consider for revising the… draft proposal,” said Post.The industry effort would ensure that at least half of all advertising to children would tout healthier foods.Food companies also say they have cut the amount of sugar, far and calories in some products.The FTC also weakened its recommendations.David Vladeck, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the group would exempt older children from the guidelines and limit recommendations to children 11 and under.It also excluded from the proposal advertising aimed at a general audience and advertising that was part of charitable or community events. It would not recommend banning clowns and cartoon characters, such as Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob SquarePants, used to advertise unhealthy foods.Advertisers, who also are lobbying against the proposals, welcomed the changes, but said industry should be left to regulate itself.The Obama administration, with its goal of containing healthcare costs, has emphasized children’s health. First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign has pushed children to eat healthier food and exercise more.