Markets Open Higher; Merck Posts Upbeat Profit

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Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded up 0.37 percent to 17,045.40 while the NASDAQ surged 0.52 percent to 4,467.96. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.25 percent to 1,983.84.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

In trading on Tuesday, telecommunications services shares were relative leaders, up on the day by about 1.27 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR ), up 16.6 percent, and Consolidated Communications Holdings (NASDAQ: CNSL ), up 7 percent.


Utilities shares dropped by 0.45 percent in today's trading. Top decliners in the sector included Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (NYSE: CIG ), down 2.7 percent, and CPFL Energia S.A. (NYSE: CPL ), off 2 percent.

Top Headline

Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK ) reported better-than-expected second-quarter profit.

The Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company posted a quarterly profit of $2 billion, or $0.68 per share, compared to $906 million, or $0.30 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, it earned $0.85 per share.

Its total sales fell 1% to $10.93 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.81 per share on revenue of $10.59 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN ) shares shot up 22.17 percent to $12.87 after the company announced its plans to spin off assets into publicly traded REIT.

Shares of Cognex (NASDAQ: CGNX ) got a boost, shooting up 16.63 percent to $44.08 after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and issued a strong Q3 revenue outlook.

MiMedx Group (NASDAQ: MDXG ) shares were also up, gaining 10.03 percent to $6.91 after the company reported Q2 earnings of $0.00 per share on revenue of $25.60 million and raised its FY14 sales outlook.

Equities Trading DOWN

Shares of Impax Laboratories (NASDAQ: IPXL ) were down 15.77 percent to $23.61 after the FDA issued a Form 483 with 10 inspectional observations for Impax Taiwan plant.

Herbalife (NYSE: HLF ) shares tumbled 11.08 percent to $60.01 after the company reported downbeat second-quarter results and issued a weak forecast for the third quarter. However, the company lifted its profit outlook for the year.

Corning (NYSE: GLW ) was down, falling 8.80 percent to $20.11 after the company reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.99 percent to $100.66, while gold traded down 0.17 percent to $1,303.60.

Silver traded up 0.21 percent Tuesday to $20.61, while copper fell 0.40 percent to $3.23.

Eurozone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 surged 0.43 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index gained 0.41 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index climbed 0.90 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX jumped 0.62 percent and the French CAC 40 gained 0.64 percent while UK shares rose 0.49 percent.

Economics

The ICSC-Goldman same store sales index gained 0.2% in the week ended Saturday versus the earlier week.

The Johnson Redbook same-store sales index declined 0.6% in the first three weeks of July versus June.

The FOMC will begin its two-day policy meeting today.

US house prices increased 1.1% in May, according to the Case-Shiller index. On a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices slipped 0.3%. However, house prices increased 9.3% y/y in May, versus a 10.8% rise in April.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 90.90 in July, versus a prior reading of 85.20. However, economists were expecting a reading of 85.40.

The Treasury is set to auction 4-week bills and 5-year notes.

© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Commodities , Futures

Referenced Stocks: CGNX , CNSL , IPXL , CIG , CPL

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