Midday Update: Stocks Buckle Ahead of Possible Federal Government Shutdown


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All three of the major U.S. indices are deep in negative territory, with stocks held hostage by a looming government shut-down, now just a little less than 12 hours away. Compounded by quarter-end profit-taking and underlying uncertainty surrounding the Fed's plan for QE, the overall tone throughout the market is decidedly bearish and will likely remain so until a deal is struck between Congressional Republicans and Democrats on the federal budget.

Today's economic data was eclipsed by the budget standoff, with both the Chicago purchasing managers index and Dallas Fed business activity index both posting better-than-expected readings. The Chicago PMI rose to 55.7 from 53.0 in August, topping expectations for a 54.4 score while the Dallas Fed index more than doubled to a 12.8 reading in September from a 5.0 score in August and doubling estimates of 6.0.

Washington's gridlock also infiltrated the European markets as well leaving the UK FTSE and German DAX stock indices closing in the red. Europe is having its own political drama as well as supporters of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threatening to cripple that government if Berlusconi - who recently was found guilty of tax fraud - is removed from Parliament. A downbeat Chinese manufacturing index also contributed to the sell-off in Europe, with UK mining stocks suffering losses across the sector.

Crude oil was down $1.19 to $101.68 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.07 to $3.52 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $2.80 to $1,337.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.18 to $22.01 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.34 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.76% to $36.68 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was 1.65% to $18.17. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.43% to 25.23 while SPDR Gold Shares) were down 0.17% to $128.76. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.74% to $21.12.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 53.55 (-0.55%) to 9,630.64

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 99.54 (-0.65%) to 15,158.70

S&P 500 down 7.71 (-0.46%) to 1,684.04

Nasdaq Composite Index down 6.90 (-0.18%) to 3,774.70


Nikkei 225 Index down 2.06%

Hang Seng Index down 1.50%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.68%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.77%

CAC 40 down 1.03%

DAX down 0.77%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.83%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.66%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.16%


(+) DCTH (+10.4%) Said its melphalan hydrochloride medication for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma has been granted an orphan drug designation by the FDA.

(+) ACTV (+25.8%) Vista Equity Partners offers to buy the company for $14.50 per share. The all-cash transaction has an overall value of $1.05 bln.

(+) CRRS (+19.1%) Late Friday says it expects a 17% year-on-year jump in Q3 revenue.


(-) ACHN (-54.9%) FDA indicates the removal of a clinical hold on sovaprevir, the company's NS3 protease inhibitor, is not warranted.

(-) GERN (-5.5%) Giving back all of Friday's gains tied to a positive Wall Street Journal report on biopharmaceutical sector.

(-) JCP (-0.4%) Stock of the beleaguered retailer continues to deteriorate, earlier falling to a 30-year low of $8.59.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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