Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Markets Mixed as Questcor Plummets on Negative Headlines

By Jake L'Ecuyer,

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Toward the end of trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 0.55 percent to 16,439.39 while the NASDAQ rose 0.10 percent to 4,157.85. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.17 percent to 1,834.71.

Top Headline Monsanto Co (NYSE: MON ) reported a rise in its fiscal first-quarter profit.

Monsanto's quarterly profit surged to $368 million, or $0.69 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $339 million, or $0.63 per share.

Its net sales jumped to $3.14 billion from $2.94 billion. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $0.64 per share on sales of $3.07 billion. Monsanto reaffirmed full-year 2014 earnings of $5.02 to $5.22 per share.

Equities Trading UP Shares of Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX ) got a boost, shooting up 18.02 percent to $69.35 after the company announced its plans to acquire Aptalis for $2.9 billion.

Apollo Education Group (NASDAQ: APOL ) shot up 13.57 percent to $30.59 after the company reported an upbeat Q1 profit and raised its FY14 outlook. Compass Point upgraded the stock from Sell to Neutral and lifted the price target from $20.00 to $30.00.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU ) was also up, gaining 9.53 percent to $23.80 after the company reported stronger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter results.

Equities Trading DOWN Shares of The Container Store Group (NYSE: TCS ) were down 15.02 percent to $38.92 on Q3 results. Bank of America downgraded the stock from Buy to Neutral.

J. C. Penney Company (NYSE: JCP ) tumbled 10.01 percent to $7.38 after the company reaffirmed its Q4 Outlook. The company also said that it is pleased with its holiday sales.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: QCOR ) was also down, falling 4.92 percent to $50.41 after news broke that Chronic Disease Fund enrollment had stopped on negative indicators from its drug Acthar.

Commodities In commodity news, oil traded down 1.31 percent to $92.44, while gold traded down 0.26 percent to $1,226.90.

Silver traded down 1.60 percent Wednesday to $19.56, while copper fell 0.60 percent to $3.34.

Eurozone European shares were mostly lower today. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.47 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index dropped 0.39 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX declined 0.25 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 0.04 percent while U.K. shares dropped 0.53 percent.

Economics The MBA's index of mortgage application activity rose 2.60% in the week ended January 3, 2014.

Private-sector employers added 238,000 jobs in December, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc. However, economists were expecting an addition of 200,000 jobs.

Crude supplies dropped by 2.7 million barrels for the week ended January 3, the US Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a fall of 3.3 million barrels.

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

Data on consumer credit for November will be released at 3:00 p.m. ET.

(c) 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 Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Economy , Futures
Referenced Stocks: APOL , FRX , JCP , MON , QCOR

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