Stocks are down in mid-day trading as Europe's debt crisis
retakes center stage amid concern over the cost to insure European
government debt as it jumped to a record high, according to
A 6 billion euro German bond auction attracted only 3.889
billion euros, MarketWatch noted, leaving the central bank to buy
the remaining unsold bonds. The results of the sale - coupled with
mounting fears that the debt contagion that started with Greece -
shook investor confidence and sparked a sell-off across the
Stateside, U.S. consumers have a more positive outlook, with the
Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment
rising to 64.1 this month from 60.9 in October. Still, that was
less than the rise to 64.5 predicted by economists polled in a
In U.S. economic data, new applications for unemployment
benefits rose 2,000 to 393,000, according the U.S. Labor
Department. Economists had expected claims to come in at 390,000
for the week, according to a MarketWatch poll. However, the
four-week moving average, which smooths out some of the volatility,
fell 3,259 to 394,250.
Also, the Commerce Department said demand for durable good
declined 0.7% last month due to declining demand for commercial
aircraft, according to media reports. That is better than the 1.5%
drop economists had expected to see, according to MarketWatch
Meanwhile, consumers spent more last month, with personal
spending rising 0.1% while personal incomes rose 0.4%. according to
other Commerce Department figures.
In mid-day company news:
Diamond Foods (
) shares are down over 15% as the company is the subject of several
law firms filing class action lawsuits on behalf of stockholders
related to the company's now-delayed purchase of Pringles.
Merck & Co. (
) has decided to settle criminal and civil charges filed against it
by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly promoting its Vioxx
for an unapproved use, with the payment of about $950 million in
fines. In the case, MRK was accused of promoting Vioxx as a
rheumatoid arthritis treatment before it had been approved for the
condition by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Goldman Sachs (
) analysts are sounding an optimistic tone as TheStreet.com reports
they expect all banks under their coverage to pass the Federal
Reserves 2012 stress tests. Goldman reportedly sees American
Express, Wells Fargo (
), Discover Financial (
) State Street (STT) and Northern Trust (NTRS) to be best
positioned, the report said.
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) shares are higher while Bloomberg reports
that the chairman of South Africa's Massmart said the court hearing
opposition to WMT's takeover of Massmart will make a sound ruling
by early next year.
ADRs of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) are down while Bloomberg the
oil company is ahead in the hunt for oil reserves in the Arctic -
thought to have the equivalent of a fifth of proven global
reserves, according to investment bank Sanford Bernstein. RDS.A has
invested $1 billion ahead of a drilling campaign due to start next
year, the report said.
Weekly government data showed a surprise decline in oil
supplies. The Energy Information Administration said crude
stockpiles fell 6.2% while Platts analysts had expected inventories
to remain unchanged. That moderated crude declines, but the January
contract was still lower.
Commodities are down as January gold contracts are down 0.81% to
$1,689 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down 1.42% to
$96.62 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.6% to
$37.23 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.3%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.8%
to $164.08. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 2.5% to
$55.60. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 3.2% to $30.89.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE down 153.91 (-2.2%) to 6,944.13
-DJIA down 172.36 (-1.5%) to 11,321.36
-S&P 500 down 18.88 (-1.59%) to 1,169.16
-Nasdaq down 45.20 (-1.79%) to 2,476.06
Nikkei down 0.4%
Hang Seng down 2.1%
Shanghai Composite down 0.7%
FTSE-100 down 0.7%
DAX-30 plus 0.1%
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy down 2.5% at 11,506.86
NYSE Financial down 2.5% at 3,692.99
NYSE Health Care down 1.3% at 6,450.44
NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 1.9% at 1,035.31
(-) BAC, (-4.0%) lower due to Federal Reserve's planned stress
(-) C, (-4.4%) lower due to Federal Reserve's planned stress
(-) PTNR, (-3.8%) announces earnings miss, planned lay offs.
(-) NOK, (-2.3%) announces the launch of an extensive global
(+) DE, (+3.8%) reports Q4 earnings beat.
(+) AEZS, (+0.3%) inks licensing pact.