Nation roundup for November 6


Family baffled by N.J. mall shooter

TEANECK, N.J. (AP) — Relatives and friends of a young man who fired shots in New Jersey’s largest mall, trapping terrified shoppers for hours before killing himself, struggled Tuesday to reconcile those actions with a person they described as pleasant and well-liked.

Investigators don’t believe the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Richard Shoop, intended to shoot anyone when he began firing at the ceiling and elsewhere at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, about 15 miles northwest of New York City, shortly before the mall’s closed Monday night. There were no other injuries.

“We think he went in with the intent that he was not going to come out alive,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

News of Shoop’s suicide stunned friends and relatives. As recently as last week, Shoop had spoken about a potential new job and seemed especially happy about it, according to a woman who said she had known him since they were little.

“He told me that he was going to get a new job at this TV place and he was going to make good money,” Madison Barbarini said.

He told me that he was doing really well and it seemed like he was really happy. Things just don’t add up. Why would he do this? It doesn’t make sense.”

The friend she knew “honestly would never hurt a fly,” Barbarini added.

LAX shooter’s mind-set probed

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal investigators probing what motivated a gunman to shoot security checkpoint workers at Los Angeles International airport are looking for connections to a long-circulated conspiracy theory that the U.S. government is preparing to oppress citizens under a totalitarian state.

The FBI got a warrant Monday to search the cellphone of alleged gunman Paul Ciancia for materials reflecting his “views on the legitimacy or activities of the United States Government, including the existence of a plot to impose a New World Order,” according to court documents.

Ciancia, a 23-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic, got a ride to LAX on Friday morning with a roommate, walked into the airport and began targeting Transportation Security Administration officers, according to authorities. By the time LAX police officers subdued him with several gunshots, one TSA officer had been killed and two others injured.

On Monday, Ciancia’s family offered sympathy to the family of slain TSA screener Gerardo I. Hernandez. In a brief statement read by a family attorney in Ciancia’s hometown of in Pennsville, N.J., family members also expressed shock at the rampage and hope for the recovery of the surviving victims.

Hagel warning against deep cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is preparing top-to-bottom changes, including a push to limit the growth of military pay, as it adjusts to steep budget cuts and the winding down of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

In a speech on U.S. defense priorities, Hagel said that as the Obama administration preserves the military’s strength it will make it a less prominent tool of foreign policy. That’s not a new goal but one Hagel said is more achievable now that the U.S. is ending more than a decade of foreign conflict and the public is weary of war.

He sketched a future focused on investments in space and cyber technologies, missile defense and a strategy that assumes the world will not soon resolve challenges posed by terrorism and “heavily armed” states like North Korea.

He advocated a more humble U.S. approach to foreign policy.

“We must also make a far better effort to understand how the world sees us, and why,” he said. “We must listen more.”

Stocks stall after earnings reports

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is taking a break from its record-breaking run.

Some weak corporate earnings reports on Tuesday held the market back, pushing the major indexes slightly lower.

Tenet Healthcare plunged after the hospital operator issued a disappointing outlook for this quarter and said that its third-quarter profit fell, in part because of costs associated with a big acquisition.

Freight forwarder Expeditors International dropped after missing analysts’ expectations for profit and revenue.

The market is still close to record levels after a surge that has put the Standard & Poor’s 500 index on track for its best performance since 2009. Stocks have advanced this year as the Federal Reserve kept up its stimulus program to help the U.S. economy recover.

Investors are struggling, however, to find more catalysts to push the market higher.

Investors already expect the Fed to keep up its stimulus until at least next year, and company earnings may start to flag if economic growth remains in the doldrums.

“We’re going to run out of steam here,” said Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.

The S&P 500 index dropped 4.96 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,762.97. The index is nine points below its record close of 1,771.95 set Oct. 29.

The index is up 0.4 percent this month, a muted gain compared with October, when it rose 4.5 percent as investors bet that the Fed would continue with its economic stimulus after a 16-day government shutdown crimped growth and hurt consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,618.22. The Nasdaq composite was up 3.27, or less than 0.1 percent, at 3,939.86.

Overall, corporate earnings for the third quarter have been better than analysts had forecast.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow by 5.2 percent in the July-to-September period, according to S&P Capital IQ. That’s better than the 4.9 percent growth recorded in the second quarter and the 2.4 percent growth in the same period a year ago.

Stocks could struggle to add to their gains in coming weeks, however, now that three-quarters of the S&P 500’s earnings reports have been released, said Kristina Hooper, head of U.S. Capital Markets Research & Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. Investors may also be underestimating the impact that last month’s government shutdown had on the economy, she said.

“What’s concerning is what we’re seeing for the fourth quarter,” Hooper said. The forecasts companies are making “suggest that we could see some damage from the shutdown.”

The overwhelming majority of earnings outlooks that companies have provided for the fourth quarter have been negative. Of the 78 companies that have provided investors with guidance, 60 have lowered their forecasts.

On Tuesday, Tenet dropped $4.26, or 8.8 percent, to $44. That decreased the stock’s gain this year to 36 percent. Expeditors fell $2.88 or 6.2 percent, to $43.41.

Investors are also waiting for the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs survey, which was delayed a week by the government shutdown. The report is due out Friday.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year note climbed to 2.67 percent from 2.60 percent on Monday.

The yield rose after a private survey showed that hiring and sales increased in the U.S. services sector last month. That suggests the sector wasn’t affected by the partial government shutdown. The report measures growth at companies that employ 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.

In the commodities markets, the price of oil fell $1.25, or 1.3 percent, to $93.37 a barrel. Gold edged down $6.60, or 0.5 percent, to $1,308.10 an ounce.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Delphi Automotive fell $2.99, or 5.2 percent, to $55.01 after the company supplier to auto makers cut its forecast for the year and sales slid.

— CVS Caremark rose $1.24, or 2 percent, to $63.22 after its third-quarter income climbed 25 percent, beating Wall Street expectations. The drugstore operator and pharmacy benefits manager also raised its 2013 earnings forecast.

— Regeneron jumped $20.62, or 7.3 percent, to $302.32 after the pharmaceutical company posted earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. The company also reported strong growth of its eye disease drug Eylea.

 

Rules for posting comments