Mid-day Update: Fears Over Europe Pushes Markets Down

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US markets are down slightly despite the fact that economic reports were on target or positive. The US trade gap narrowed 3.8% to $48.68 billion, down from $50.60 billion the month before, matching analyst expectations. Wholesale inventories also met analyst predictions, rising 0.3%, but still down from 0.6% in the prior period. MBA purchase applications rose 3%, up from 1% the previous period as rates continued to move lower, with 30-year mortgages averaging just 3.79%, down 7 basis points to a new record low.

Hopes for another round of quantitative easing are capping losses Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 31.94 (+0.25%) at 12,620.16.

The NASDAQ Composite is down 14.74 (0.51%) at 2,887.53.

The S&P 500 is down 0.45 (-0.03%) at 1,341.02.

European stocks traded in a tight range as profit warnings from US companies and concerns over the euro-zone debt crisis kept stocks down across the board.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced almost $80 billion in austerity measures, in an effort to meet new budget deficit targets, but news of the cuts was not received well. While some saw it as a positive move, others saw it as economic suicide. Details of the draft agreement regarding a Spainish bailout didn't help matters. According to reports, Spain will give up most of its control over its banks in exchange for a bailout of up to 100 billion euros.

At the same time, Germany was able to raise cash at record low borrowing costs, indicating that investors are looking for safe havens. The DAX is up in return.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index is down 6.40 (-0.11%) to 5,657.67. The DAX is up 9.35 (+0.15%) to 6,447.68 and the CAC 40 is down 19.93 (-0.63%) to 3,155.48.

Crude oil prices are at $85.30 a barrel, up 1.39. Natural gas is up 3.8 cents to $2.766 per 1 million BTU. Gold is down 4.9 to $1,575 an ounce, while silver is up 0.169 to $27.02 an ounce. Copper is up 0.02 to $3.42 a pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up near 3% while the United States Natural Gas ( UNG ) fund is up near 2%. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GMI) is down 1.7% and has hit year lows while SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD ) are up 0.6%. The iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 1%.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 0.23% (+17.28) to 7,684.41

Dow Jones Industrial Index down 0.23% (-29.33) to 12,623.79

S&P 500 up 0.01% (+0.09) to 1,341.53

Nasdaq Composite Index down 0.47% (-13.72) to 2,888.61

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 down 0.08% (-6.73) to 8,851.00

Hang Seng Index up 0.12% (+23.51) to 19,419.87

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.51% (+10.95) to 2,175.38

FTSE 100 is up 0.01% (+0.41) to 5,664.48

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 1.16% (+133.85) to 11,693.84

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.52% (+22.56) to 4,395.82

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.15% (+11.39) to 7,408.42

UPSIDE MOVERS

OPTT (+84%) Inked a deal with Lockheed Martin ( LMT ) with the goal of co-developing a 19 megawatt wave-energy project in Victoria, Australia.

QTWW (+7%) Announced that it has received a $3.8 million purchase order from a global natural gas vehicle engine and systems developer for supplying Quantum's carbon composite compressed natural gas (CNG) storage tanks for a high volume light duty fleet pickup truck platform.

IPT (+5.2%) Will open two new retail party stores in the Greater Boston Area.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

HGG (-38.3%, has hit year lows) Downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

DNDN (-6.5%) Downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill. Price target was lowered to $6 from $13.

ERJ (-5.5%) Backlog of firm orders have dropped to its lowest level in six years for Q2



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.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: GLD , LMT , SLV , UNG , USO

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