Stocks are trading higher at mid-day after
stronger-than-expected economic data lifted spirits in what is
shaping up to be another thinly traded session.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's index of Midwest
business activity was higher than expected in December, up at 62.5
against an expected 61, and pending sales of existing homes surged
7.3% to 100.1 in November, offering more signs of a tentative
Over in Europe, encouraging bond auction results out of Italy
boosted sentiment somewhat; the country sold another round of
government bonds Thursday, with yields falling for 2014 and 2022
debt, news reports said.
Italy raised a total of around 7 billion euros ($9 billion) of
various bonds. The government had planned to raise between 5
billion and 8.5 billion euros, MarketWatch reported.
Italy paid a yield of 5.62% to sell new three-year debt, down
sharply from 7.89% in an auction last month, Reuters reported,
while 10-year bonds were sold at a yield of 6.98%, down from 7.56%
in a late November auction.
In company news:
) is up 1.7% at $16.05 a share on reports Alibaba.com's efforts to
buy the company are moving forward. China's Alibaba.com has hired
Washington lobbying firm Duberstein Group Inc. as it seeks a deal
with Yahoo, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a filing. Japan's
Softbank Corp. is also listed as an Alibaba affiliate in the
lobbying firm's disclosure, according to the filing, Reuters
JA Solar (
) is up 4.6% after it said it entered into an agreement with
Solarhybrid AG, a Germany-based project developer and general
contractor for utility-scale solar power projects, to supply 19 MW
of solar modules to Solarhybrid's Allstedt I solar power plant in
Halle, Germany. JA Solar is the exclusive solar module supplier to
Commodities are lower. February gold contracts are down $31.40
to $1,532.70 an ounce, while February crude oil contracts are down
$0.70 to $98.66 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (
) is down 0.6% to $38.12 and the United States Natural Gas fund (
) is down 3.5%, to $6.55.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (
) is down 1.1% to $149.34. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up
0.54% to $50.32. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is little changed.