Daily Data Flow: Stocks Fall Awaiting Earnings Season; Flu May Aid Drug Store Profits

U.S. Stocks Fall Before Corporate Earnings Season Starts (Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor???s 500 Index down for a second straight day, as investors awaited the start of the corporate earnings season. ???We???re waiting for earnings to come out,??? said John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advantage Funds in New York. ???Valuations are far from excessive. Yet we???ve had a strong rally very quickly. Now the market is adjusting.???

Strong Flu Could Boost Some Health Care Profits (CNBC)
It is shaping up to be the worst cold and flu season in about ten years, with more than 40 states reporting widespread influenza spurring doctor visits and hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “This year’s strain appears to be similar to the one we saw back in 2003,” said ISI Group health care analyst Ross Muken. “Flu hit early that season and was quite severe.” Beyond flu shots, a strong cold and flu season could mean stronger sales for over-the-counter medication and other cold care items at Walgreens and its competitors, CVS Caremark and Rite Aid.