Mid-Day Market Update: Alcoa Surges On Upbeat Earnings; Intuitive Surgical Shares Slip


Midway through trading Wednesday, the Dow traded up 0.53 percent to 16,341.84 while the NASDAQ gained 0.88 percent to 4,149.35. The S&P also rose, surging 0.46 percent to 1,860.47.

Leading and Lagging Sectors Healthcare stocks gained Wednesday, with Senomyx (NASDAQ: SNMX ) leading advancers after the company announced a research agreement with PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ). Among the leading sector stocks, gains came from Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (NASDAQ: PTX ), Albany Molecular Research (NASDAQ: AMRI ) and Cytokinetics (NASDAQ: CYTK ). In trading on Wednesday, utilities shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.54 percent.

Top decliners in the sector included Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais SA (NYSE: CIG ), off 3.2 percent, and Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: ELP ), down 3.9 percent.

Top Headline Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ ) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. Constellation's quarterly net income surged to $157.2 million, or $0.79 per share, from $81.7 million, or $0.43 per share, in the year-ago period. Its net sales climbed to $1.29 billion versus $696 million. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.76 per share on sales of $1.29 billion. Constellation expects FY15 earnings of $3.95 to $4.15 per share.

Equities Trading UP Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT ) shares shot up 27.51 percent to $27.95 after the company lifted its Q1 and FY14 revenue outlook.

Shares of Prothena Corporation plc (NASDAQ: PRTA ) got a boost, shooting up 9.73 percent to $32.82 after the company reported the successful start of a Phase 1 clinical trial of PRX002 for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Citigroup initiated coverage on the stock with a Buy rating and a $50.00 price target.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) shares were also up, gaining 3.43 percent to $12.96 after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Alcoa posted its quarterly adjusted earnings of $0.09 per share on revenue of $5.45 billion. However, analysts were estimating earnings of $0.05 per share on revenue of $5.57 billion.

Equities Trading DOWN Shares of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG ) were down 6.42 percent to $458.38 after the company issued downbeat revenue forecast for the first-quarter. The company expected revenue of around $465 million, versus analysts' estimates of $535.5 million. Sterne Agee initiated coverage on the stock with an Underperform rating.

WD-40 Company (NASDAQ: WDFC ) shares tumbled 6.44 percent to $72.81 after the company reported weaker-than-expected FQ2 earnings.

Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT ) was down, falling 6.43 percent to $10.48 after the company priced 7.5 million shares at $10.70 per share.

Commodities In commodity news, oil traded up 0.40 percent to $102.97, while gold traded down 0.31 percent to $1,305.00.

Silver traded down 1.43 percent Wednesday to $19.77, while copper fell 0.80 percent to $3.03.

Eurozone European shares were higher today.

The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.04 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index climbed 0.23 percent.

Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.16 percent and the French CAC 40 jumped 0.40 percent while U.K. shares surged 0.68 percent.

Economics The MBA reported that its index of mortgage application activity fell 1.60% in the week ended April 4.

US wholesale inventories rose 0.50% in February, versus economists' expectations for a 0.50% gain.

Crude stockpiles surged 4 million barrels for the week ended April 4, the US Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a gain of 2.5 million barrels.

Gasoline supplies declined 5.2 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles climbed 200,000 barrels.

The Federal Open Market Committee will issue minutes of its latest meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET.

© 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 , Economy , Futures , International

Referenced Stocks: AMRI , CTCT , CYTK , ISRG , SNMX


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