Mid-Day Update: Stocks Firm at Session's Half; Personal Incomes Data Tops Expectations


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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 145.31 (+2.01%) to 7,391.13

-DJIA up 191.25 (+1.69%) to 11,475.79

-S&P 500 up 24.48 (+2.08%) to 1,201.28

-Nasdaq up 63.15 (+2.55%) to 2,543.08


Nikkei up 0.6%.

Hang Seng up 1.4%.

Shanghai Composite down 1.4%.

FTSE-100 closed for holiday.

DAX-30 up 1.8%


NYSE Energy up 1.81% at 11,876.20

NYSE Financial up 2.7% at 4,204.45

NYSE Health Care down 1.35% at 6,732.07

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 2.35% at 1,042.66


(+) NXG (+36.5%) sold to AuRico Gold in stock deal.

(+) NBG (+34%) jumps on reports of merger with Alpha Bank.

(+) VQ (+31%) going private for $12.50 a share.

(+) HPQ (+4.8%) inks Air Force contract.

(+) BIDU (+1.3%) upgraded.

(+) YOKU (+6.9%) inks deal with Dreamworks Animation.

(+) AMR (+7.4%) upgraded.

(+) SOHU (+5.2%) buying back shares.

(+) CSCO (+2.0%) making acquisition.

(+) BMY (+2.1%) gains on raised price target.

(+) LDK (+2.7%) swings to loss on lower sales.


(-) ICGN (-0.2) board recommends accepting Pfizer ( PFE ) bid


Major U.S. indexes have remained firm into the session's half, which has sent safe-haven buyers away from gold futures through the morning session. Optimism spurred from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on Friday coupled with the latest personal incomes data provided broad support for investor sentiment.

The Fed chief stopped short of promising further measures, particularly a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, but his assessment of the economy wasn't as negative as some feared. Stocks initially fell on the remarks but markets later turned positive. Bernanke said the Fed had marked down its forecast over coming quarters but still expected "a moderate recovery" to continue and strengthen over time.

Data this week will be given added attention in the wake of Bernanke's remarks, including today's personal income and spending data and housing figures. Friday features the always highly anticipated monthly jobs report.

As reported by the Commerce Department, the personal incomes of Americans rose 0.3% in July, below estimates. Spending climbed an even faster at 0.8% as auto purchases surged, topping expectations. The core PCE, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose a lesser 0.2%, in line with expectations.

In company news:

Shares of Icagen ( ICGN ) are down after the company's Board sent a letter to stockholders saying it unanimously recommends that they accept Pfizer's ( PFE ) offer of $6 per share and tender their shares in the offer. The $6 offer represents a premium of 150% to the $2.40 closing price of ICGN stock on June 24, the day before the company announced it had entered into negotiations regarding a possible strategic transaction.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) are higher as Digitimes reports that Samsung recruited HP's ex-vice president of PSG marketing Raymond Wah to oversee Samsung's PC sales. The report also indicates Samsung may be interested in webOS to compete against Apple ( AAPL ) and Google ( GOOG ). Barron's noted in a report that the move could presage Samsung buying the PC business altogether.

Shares of Youku.com, Inc. (YOKU) are jumping over 7% after the Internet television company and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (DWA) announced today that they have entered into what the companies call a first-of-its-kind online distribution agreement for rights to the DreamWorks Animation KungFu Panda franchise films in Mainland China. This is the first time that DreamWorks Animation titles, which are distributed by Paramount Pictures, will be made available through an online platform in China.

Shares of Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) are higher as Bloomberg reports that its drug Eliquis, which it developed along with Pfizer ( PFE ), will lead the market for blood thinners that prevent stroke, citing analysts. The pill, which is taken twice daily, had a 31 percent lower risk of major bleeding than the standard treatment - wafarin - the report said, citing a study. Analysts for ISI Group and Leerink Swann indicate sales for wafarin will reach $7 billion o $9 billion a year.

Shares of Cisco Systems (CSCO) are higher as the networking gear maker said it acquired privately-held Versly. Financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed. Also this morning, Ticonderoga reiterated its Buy rating on the company's shares.

Bank of America (BAC) shares are higher as the bank said it has agreed to sell approximately 13.1 billion common shares - or half of its stake - of China Construction Bank Corporation in a private transaction with a group of investors. The sale is expected to generate approximately $8.3 billion in cash proceeds and an after-tax gain on sale of approximately $3.3 billion.

Cimarex Energy (XEC) says its Board of Directors has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer and a new Chief Operating Officer as part of the company's succession plan. Thomas E. Jorden has been named President and CEO, while Joseph R. Albi was named COO. Both have also been appointed to the company's Board of Directors.

Commodities are mixed as December gold contracts are down 0.43% to $1,789 an ounce while October crude oil contacts are up 2.45% to $87.46 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.26% to $33.91 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.81%, to $9.80.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.77% to $174.32. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.34% to $62.69. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.83% to $39.67.

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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