Mid-Day Update: Consumer Confidence Rise Lifts Stocks Off Lows; Indexes Just Higher

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 9.97 (-0.13%) to 7,536.40

-DJIA up 2.65 (+0.02%) to 11,166.70

-S&P 500 up 0.50 (+0.04%) to 1,186.16

-Nasdaq up 9.88 (+0.40%) to 2,500.68

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng down 0.11%

Nikkei down -0.25%

FTSE down 0.78%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 0.2% at 11,239.33

NYSE Financial down 0.37% at 4,764.66

NYSE Health Care down 0.47% at 6,480.59

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.26% at 1,008.24

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) NTRS (+4.6%) gains as reports says HSBC may make a bid.

(+) JASO (+2.4%) projects better-than-expected Q3.

(+) COH (+11.9%) beats with Q1 results.

(+) SUPG (+18.9%) continues evening gain after earnings top year-ago levels.

(+) MIPS (+23.7%) continues strong evening upside in wake of earnings beat.

(+) F (+1.9%) loses early bid that followed earnings beat.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) DD (-1.8%) gives up early gain to turn just lower; beats with weaker earnings, raises guidance.

(-) TXN (-0.7%) continues evening decline that followed Q3 estimates, Q4 guidance that straddles Street view.

(-) UBS (-5.5%) investment side performance clouds earnings beat.

(-) RF (-7.4%) misses loss expectations.

(-) TLAB (-14.1%) guides for revenue miss.

(-) ARMH (-4.2%) dented by Q3 results.

(-) X (-3.8%) earnings disappoint.

(-) ZRAN (-20.2%) warns for Q4 after Q3 revenue miss.

(-) VLTR (-1.9%) downgraded.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are turning positive at mid-day but remain choppy amid a spate of earnings news and disappointing housing data. Positive consumer confidence numbers, however, are providing some support for the broader market.

U.S. consumer confidence rose in October to 50.2, according to the Conference Board. Economists had expected a reading of 50, according to a MarketWatch poll. Confidence for September was revised up to 48.6, from a prior estimate of 48.5. The barometer on consumers' expectations rose to 67.8 in October from 65.5 in September, while consumers' assessment of current conditions rose to 23.9 from 23.3.

The U.S. August Case-Shiller home price index, released before the bell, fell 0.2% but is up 1.7% in the past year.

In company news, BHP Billiton ( BHP ) plans to challenge a shareholder rights plan set up at Saskatchewan's Potash ( POT ) at regulatory hearing on Nov. 8, Reuters reported. BHP is looking to suspend the plan, which has been set up as an anti-takeover defense, commonly called a "poison pill" after BHP began a hostile $39 billion bid for the company.

Abbott Laboratories ( ABT ) filed suit against Anchen Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug maker, in federal court in Delaware, saying it had infringed on a U.S. patent for Zemplar, a drug used to treat people with kidney disease.

IBM ( IBM ) is up after it says its Board approved $10 billion in additional funds for its stock buyback program. This amount is in addition to approximately $2.3 billion remaining at the end of September from a prior authorization. IBM expects to request additional share repurchase authorization at the April 2011 board meeting. It also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.65 per common share, payable December 10 to stockholders of record November 10.

Lexmark ( LXK ) shares are sharply lower after the printer maker said its longtime CEO Paul Curlander plans to retire in the spring of 2011, according to a statement. Curlander will assume the role of executive chairman. Also, Lexmark reported Q3 non-GAAP EPS of $1.09, ahead of Street estimates of $0.98 per share. Revenue was $1.02 billion, vs. expectations of $1.04 billion.

American International Group, Inc. ( AIG ) announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert H. Benmosche, has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. "The good news is that I feel fine, and I continue to work according to my normal schedule. As for my long-term prognosis I will have a better idea over the next couple of months of what that will look like as I continue to undergo treatment and my doctors refine their diagnosis," Benmosche said.

Deutsche Bank ( DB ) is suing a former client for $1.8 million in unpaid debts, after suffering losses on investments connected to Citigroup ( C ), Bloomberg reported. Chang Tse Wen is countersuing for $49 million from Deutsche Bank, saying he was induced to open a private banking accountin in Aug. 2007 and that the bank was negligent in its advice and made fraudulent misrepresentations, the report said.

Sony ( SNE ) shares rose almost 3%, retreated and are advancing again, amid speculation that Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) is eying it as an acquisition, Reuters reported. Analysts dismissed the speculation, the report said. The speculation started with a Saturday report in Barron's that Apple, which has $51 billion in cash, is thinking about making a big acquisition.

MGM Resort International ( MGM ) is holding a fractional gain in choppy morning trade, after Moody's Investors Service bumped up the company's rating outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its Caa1 corporate family rating. "The outlook revision to positive reflects the favorable impact on MGM's liquidity following the company's recent $511 million equity issuance and the new $500 million senior secured bond offering," the ratings agency said in a statement.

In the latest earnings news:

--Sherwin-Williams Co. ( SHW ) is down after flat Q3 earnings on an 8.8% increase in revenue in the face of rising commodity costs disappointed the Street.

--Hospira Inc. ( HSP ) is higher on reported Q3 earnings of $71.4 million, or 42 cents per share, down from $116.2 million, or 71 cents per share, last year. Ex items, the company reported earning 74 cents a share, ahead of the Street's consensus for 70 cents. Revenue came in at $949.3 million, compared with $1.01 billion last year, but just ahead of the Street's call for $944.7 million.

--Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY ) reported Q3 EPS of $0.59, ahead of expectations of $0.53 per share. Sales were $4.79 billion, vs. expectations of $4.91 billion. Looking forward, the company affirmed its 2010 EPS guidance range of $2.10 to $2.20 per share. The Street is at $2.10 per share.

--Ford ( F ) is just higher after it reported Q3 net income of $0.43 per share and pre-tax operating profit of $0.48, vs. Street estimates of $0.38 per share. Revenue was $29 bln, in line with the analyst consensus on Thomson Reuters.

--Texas Instruments ( TXN ) reported Q3 revs of $3.74 billion, better than the analyst consensus of $3.69 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.71 per share, vs. expectations of $0.69 per share.

--U.S. Steel ( X ) reported Q3 sales of $4.5 billion, down 4% from year ago levels but above the analyst consensus of $4.43 billion on Thomson Reuters. Loss for the quarter was $0.35 per share, vs. a year ago loss of $2.11 per share. The Street was expecting a profit of $0.22 per share.

--DuPont ( DD ) reported Q3 EPS of $0.40 compared to $0.45 a year earlier though topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.34. Sales of $7 billion were up from $5.96 billion a year earlier. The Street expected $6.72 billion. The company lifts FY EPS guidance to around $3.10. The Street is at $3.04.

Commodities are higher as December gold contracts are up $2, or 0.18%, to $1,342 an ounce while December crude contacts are up 0.17%, or $0.14, at $82.63 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 0.45% to $35.64 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is up 1.69% to $5.43.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is up 0.16% to $131.06. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is up 0.48% to $56.01. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 1.30% to $23.40.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities


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