Mid-Day Update: Stocks Firm as Inflation Appears in Check; Zynga Begins Trading

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U.S. indexes are higher in mid-day trading while new government data released this morning showed prices consumers pay for everyday goods were in check. Also, shares of mobile game maker Zynga (ZNGA) began trading on the Nasdaq today.

In U.S. data, the Labor Department announced that consumer prices were unchanged in November, mainly due to declining energy costs. So-called core prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2%. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast CPI to be unchanged overall, with a 0.1% increase in the core rate.

In company news:

Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX ) announced that it had made a proposal to the Board of Directors of ISTA Pharmaceuticals ( ISTA ) to acquire ISTA for $6.50 per share in cash. The proposed transaction has a total equity value of approximately $314 million on a fully diluted basis. In addition, ISTA has net debt of approximately $13 million, bringing the total enterprise value to approximately $327 million. ISTA later rejected the offer.

Wells Fargo ( WFC ) said late yesterday that it has acquired EverKey Global Partners, an investment boutique offering global equity strategies to institutional clients. Financial terms were not disclosed. EverKey will become part of the company's wholly owned institutional asset management subsidiary, Wells Capital Management, which is part of WFC's Asset Management Group.

Tilman J. Fertitta announced today that his wholly-owned company, Fertitta's Morton's Restaurants, Inc. and is wholly owned subsidiary Fertitta Morton's Acquisition, Inc. have signed an Agreement to acquire 100% of Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. ( MRT ) for $6.90 a share.

Pfizer ( PFE ) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said they will supply millions of extra doses of pneumonia vaccine to an international partnership that provides immunization to children in developing countries.

Fitch Ratings late Thursday downgraded Goldman Sachs (GS), Deutsche Bank (DB) and five other large banks based in Europe and the United States, citing "increased challenges" in the financial markets. Fitch cut long-term ratings on Barclays Plc (BCS) and Credit Suisse AG (CS) by two notches to 'A' from 'AA-'. The agency cut by one notch its long-term ratings on Bank of America Corp (BAC), French bank BNP Paribas, Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group.

Carnival (CCL) shares are moving higher as the cruise line is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC. The firm raised the price target to $38 from $34.

Commodities are mixed as February gold contracts are up $13.50 to $1,591 an ounce while January crude oil contracts are down $1.25 to $92.62 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.86% to $35.82 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.29%, to $6.88.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.52% to $154.65. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.01% to $52.20. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.28% to $28.58.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 9.53 (0.13%) to 7,226.63

-DJIA down 47.00 (0.40%) to 11,821.81

-S&P 500 down 0.50 (0.04%) to 1,215.25

-Nasdaq up 7.91 (0.31%) to 2,548.92

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.6%

Hang Seng up 1.4%

Shanghai Composite up 2.0%

FTSE-100 up 0.1%

DAX-30 down 0.5%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 0.1% at 11,765.39

NYSE Financial up 0.1% at 3,915.09

NYSE Health Care down 0.4% at 6,805.89

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.1% at 1,055.80

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) MRT, (+33%) Going Private at $6.90 Per Share, 34% Premium

(+) ISTA, (+74%) Buyout Offer from Valeant

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-)RIMM, (-12.1%) Reports Lower Profits, BlackBerry Delay

(-)STJ, (-2.1%) FDA Classifies Riata Device Recall as Class I

(-)QTWW, (-30.8%) Prices Offering

(-)SAP, (-2.7%) Downgraded to Neutral from Buy



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: ISTA , MRT , PFE , VRX , WFC

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