Stocks Stumble Ahead of Cisco, Fed

Stocks fell Monday despite a broad decline in commodity prices, as lingering financial worries and an uptick in the closely-watched personal consumption inflation indicator had traders on edge before the Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday.

And the Fed won’t be all that traders are worried about on Tuesday. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) will report its quarterly results after the close, and investors will be watching the networking giant’s results closely for signs that IT spending is holding up despite more than a year of credit market and economic troubles.

Analysts are looking for earnings of 39 cents a share, up 3 cents from the year-ago quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial. Sales are expected to rise 9.3% to $10.31 billion.

Perhaps more important than Cisco’s results will be the company’s guidance, particularly its comments on the state of U.S. enterprise spending. Analysts are looking for October quarter guidance of 40-cent earnings and $10.39 billion in sales.

One stock that did get a boost on Monday was Motorola (NYSE: MOT), which jumped 11.5% on news of a new co-CEO. Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) fell 4.7% after losing its COO to its wireless rival.

PeopleSupport (NASDAQ: PSPT) and Simtek (NASDAQ: SMTK) were big gainers on merger news. Simtek will be acquired by Cypress Semi (NYSE: CY), and PeopleSupport by India’s Aegis BPO.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) traded as low as $19.21 — just 3 cents higher than where it closed before Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) made a bid for the company earlier this year — following its shareholder meeting.

Once investors make it past Tuesday, Wednesday could be just as eventful, with Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and AIG (NYSE: AIG) both scheduled to report their quarterly results.

The Nasdaq fell 25 to 2285, the S&P lost 11 to 1249, and the Dow fell 42 to 11,284. Volume declined to 4.56 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.04 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 22-11 margin on the NYSE, and 19-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 67% on the NYSE, and 75% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 33-139 on the NYSE, and 51-140 on the Nasdaq.

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