Stocks are moderately higher today, with the primary market
gauges recouping about a quarter of their respective losses in
yesterday's broad-based selloff. The best gains are among financial
stocks after expected downgrades by Moody's Investors Service of
the credit ratings of 15 large banks and brokerages were not as
severe as some market participants were expecting. Most other
industry sectors in the S&P 500 are higher, although energy and
mining stocks are in the red as commodity prices continue to labor
somewhat under diminished demand expectations.
Moody's late yesterday cut its credit ratings for more than a
dozen money-center banks and brokerages, citing declining
profitability as the global economy slows and increased regulatory
and investor scrutiny. None of the cuts were for more than two
notches, however, allaying investor fears of even deeper cuts.
Among the sector heavyweights posting the best gains are JPMorgan
Chase & Co. (
) and Morgan Stanley (
), gaining about 2% and 1%, respectively.
Also supporting financial issues today was the European Central
Bank announcement of plans to widen its bank collateral
requirements, accepting lower quality assets and paring rating
thresholds in a bid to help facilitate more lending.
But industrial stocks are lower after Ryder System Inc (
) - which is down more than 10% and around $1 above year lows -
slashed its profit outlook for the rest of the year. Citing
diminished results in its fleet management business, the company
cut per-share earnings estimates for the current quarter ending
this month by $0.17 a share from prior forecasts. The full-year
median guidance was cut by $0.32 a share. R also said unusually
high healthcare insurance costs was contributing to the expected Q2
There were no domestic economic reports today.
Commodities are mixed. Crude oil for August delivery was up
$1.06 at $79.26 a barrel in late-morning trade following a 4%
freefall during yesterday session. July natural gas was up 7 cents
at $2.651 per 1 million BTU. August gold was down $1.70 at
$1,563.80 an ounce while July silver was down 16 cents at $26.68 an
ounce. July copper was flat at $3.30.
Among energy ETFs, the US Oil Fund and the US Natural Gas Fund
are both up more than 1%. Among precious-metal funds, the Market
Vectors Gold Miners ETF is down 0.7%, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF is
off 0.1% and the iShares Silver Trust is down 0.6%.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 28.31 (+0.37%) to 7,594.4126
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 59.45 (+0.47%) to 12,633.02
S&P 500 up 4.99 (+0.38%) to 1,330.50
Nasdaq Composite Index up 17.11 (+0.60%) to 2,876.20
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.29%
Hang Seng Index down 1.40%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.40%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.00%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.11% to 11,255.65
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.66% to 4,358.39
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.62% to 7,321.54
(+) HNR, (+87% from near year lows) Sells 32% stake in
Venezuelan oil assets for $725 million
(+) DB, (+0.8%) Recovering following Moody's credit-rating
(+) NPSP, (+10.5%) Eurozone regulators recommend bowel drug for
(-) AEC, (-3.8% to near year lows) Prices 5.5 million shares at
$14.40 each, raising about $75.8 million
(-) DRI, (-1.7%) Restaurant chain's Q4 earnings lag estimates;
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