Mid-Day Update: Stocks Getting Lift from Deal News; Greece Worries Simmer

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 0.45 (+37.74%) to 8,463.64

-DJIA up 55.25 (+0.46%) to 12,693.99

-S&P 500 up 6.30 (+0.47%) to 1,346.50

-Nasdaq up 17.36 (+0.61%) to 2,844.89

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.7%.

Hang Seng up 0.8%.

Shanghai Composite down 0.3%.

FTSE-100 down 0.8%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 1.08% at 13,655.75

NYSE Financial down 0.08% at 5,115.15

NYSE Health Care up 0.31% at 7,313.87

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.69% at 1,188.83

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) ALU (+3.9%) upgraded.

(+) APO (+2.3%) started with favorable analyst coverage.

(-) BSFT (-1.3%) beats with earnings, guidance.

(+) ELN (+4.8%) sells unit to Alkermes.

(+) DTG (+12.8%) gets offer from HTZ.

(+) HTZ (+0.5%) proposes to buy Dollar Thrifty ( DTG ).

(+) SYY (+11.9%) beats with earnings.

(+) ETFC (+1.4%) upgraded.

(+) SLW (+2.9%) gains despite earnings miss.

(+) MCD (+1.3%) says April same-store sales up 6%.

(+) X (+2.5%) gets favorable Barron's coverage.

(+) INO (+1.9%) reports positive data.

(+) AFFX (+0.2%) gets FDA clearance of Microarray-based gene profiling system.

(+) HBC (+0.04%) falls after earnings.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) TSN (-5.9%) beats with sales and guides above Street view.

(-) AMTD (-0.7%) downgraded.

(-) AIG (-3.8%) subject of mostly critical Barron's piece.

(-) ZRAN (-12.2%) reports wider-than-expected loss, guides for miss.

(-) SPLS (-2.9%) downgraded.

(-) AUXL (-2.5%) misses Q1 expectations.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are trending higher at mid-day as deal news provides support to prices and offset renewed worries over Greece's debt situation. Commodities are also getting a lift as crude oil futures surge above $100 a barrel.

Worries that Greece may need an additional bailout accelerated on Monday. Over the weekend, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the country is increasingly struggling to meet deficit-reduction targets and is mulling a European bailout of its debt, if it continues to be unable to access capital markets next year.

European governments have agreed to spend the next several weeks reviewing ways to provide more financial aid to Greece, which received a 110 billion euro ($159 billion) lifeline last year, MarketWatch said. This morning, S&P cuts its rating on Greek credit to B from BB-.

In deal news:

Shares of biotech firm Alkermes Inc. ( ALKS ) are higher after it announce a cash and stock merger valued at $960 million with Elan Drug Technologies, a unit of biotech group Elan Corp. ( ELN ), At the closing of the deal, approved by boards of Elan and Alkermes, Elan will receive $500 million in cash and a 25% equity stake in Alkermes PLC. The companies said the merger will immediately be accretive to cash earnings and the combined companies will have revenues in excess of $450 million annually.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. ( HTZ ) has offered to buy Dollar Thrifty Auto Group Inc. ( DTG ) in a cash and stock deal worth $72 a share at Friday's closing price for Hertz stock. Hertz said it is offering $57.60 in cash and 0.8546 of its own shares for every Dollar Thrifty share.

Elsewhere in company news:

Shares of American International Group ( AIG ) are lower after Barron's reported this week that the U.S. government is preparing to shed its stake in the insurer through a huge stock offering, but shareholders might wish for a bailout of their own. AIG quickly became the poster child for speculative excess during the 2008 U.S. financial meltdown, the article says. The company required more federal bailout money than any other to avoid a collapseb more than Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and General Motors (GM) combined. Even the European Union's rescue of Greece proved less costly. At the peak of the AIG catastrophe, the Federal Reserve and Treasury's Troubled Asset Rescue Program had to pump in nearly $140 billion.

Pfizer (PFE) announced today that its Phase 3 immunogenicity and safety trials of Prevnar 13 in adults aged 50 years and older have met all study endpoints. The two Phase 3 trials demonstrated that Prevnar 13 was at least as immunogenic to pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) for the 12 disease-causing serotypes common to both vaccines, the company said. Pfizer shares are still lower.

Shares of McDonald's (MCD) are higher in the regular session after seeing a boost in the pre-market following its report of April same-store sales. The burger chain said global comparable sales rose 6.0% in April. Performance by segment was as follows: U.S. was up 4.0%; Europe was up 6.5%; and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa we up 6.5%. McDonald's shares are up 1.25%, or $1, to $79.70.

Citigroup (C) announced today that shares of its common stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis based on its 1-for-10 reverse stock split wherein every ten shares of outstanding C common stock is combined into one share of common stock without any change in par value per share.

Apple (AAPL) shares are higher as Reuters reports that the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and mobile device maker overtook Google (GOOG) as the world's most valuable brand, citing a study by global brands agency Millward Brown. The Apple brand is now worth $153 billion, the study reportedly says. The article notes that is almost half Apple's market capitalization.

In earnings news:

--Dynegy Inc. (DYN)reported on its Q1 earnings, swinging to a net loss of $77 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared with net income of $145 million, or $1.20 per diluted share for Q1 2010. DYN revenue fell to $505 million, from last year's $858 million, below analysts' estimate for a $534.62 revenue.

--Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services provider, reported higher Q1 net income today of $258 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with the prior-year quarter's $106 million, or $0.42 per share. Q1 earnings included a $96 million after-tax charge, or $0.38 per diluted share, due to a 2010 litigation settlement. Excluding this, the company's EPS increased 34%. SRE revenues were down to $2.43 billion versus last year's $2.53 billion.

Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up 1.13%, to $1,509 an ounce while June crude oil contacts are up 3.97% to $101.07 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 3.24% to $40.13 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.36%, to $10.85.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.22% at $147.07. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.46% to $56.91. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 6.29% to $36.65.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AIG , ALKS , DTG , ELN , HTZ

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