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Stock Analyst Update

Marching in Place: Stocks Stagnant in Third Quarter

Big mergers, weak euro, and profit fears couldn't budge broad indexes.

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The economic climate cut both ways for investors in the third quarter. Six interest-rate hikes since last June seemed to slow the nation's economy enough to satisfy the Federal Reserve and keep it from raising rates again until, at least, after the presidential election. Alas, investors discovered they can't have it both ways, as a rash of earnings warnings stoked fears about weaker profits caused by the very same slowing economy.

Robust oil prices and weak European currencies clipped the earnings growth of multinational corporations, and the Presidential candidates' incessant debate over drug prices and Medicare reform reined in drug company stocks.

Dan Culloton does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.