Mid-Day Update: Stocks Give Up Some Prior-Session Gains On Discouraging Economic Data


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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 17.89 (-0.24%) to 7,543.61

-DJIA down 28.57 (-0.26%) to 11,067.51

-S&P 500 down 5.18 (-0.44%) to 1,172.92

-Nasdaq down 5.67 (-0.23%) to 2,435.15


Hang Seng up 1.68%

Nikkei up 1.91%

FTSE down 0.35%


NYSE Energy up 0.13% at 11,310.00

NYSE Financial down 0.93% at 4,802.09

NYSE Health Care down 0.04% at 6,519.04

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 0.2% at 984.08


(+) YHOO (+4.7%) subject of takeover speculation in WSJ story.

(+) ZAGG (+40.4%) continues evening jump that followed upbeat outlook.

(+) SUF (+24.9%) near pact for mobile sonocracking unit.


(-) APOL (-25.5%) continues evening drop after company misses with results, outlook.

(-) CECO (-16.7%) follows APOL lower.

(-) COCO (-19.1%) follows APOL lower.

(-) MSFT (-0.7%) price target cut at BarCap.

(-) ALKS (-2.3%) downgraded.

(-) GOOG (-0.3%) firm ahead of post-bell earnings.

(-) AMD (-1.1%) firm ahead of post-bell earnings.


Stocks are in mostly negative territory at mid-day as investors tap back into a gloomy outlooking following disappointing economic data released this morning while interest rates on mortgages fell to a new low stirring hopes they will help the flagging real estate market.

A new report on prices showed almost no inflation in the economy raises lingering concerns about deflation, which the Fed has vowed to fight to prevent. The Producer Price Index rose a scant 0.1% last month, excluding volatile energy and food costs.

Also the U.S. Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment rose by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 462,000, the second rise in two months. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out volatility in the weekly numbers, rose by 2,250 to 459,000.

Interest Rates on 30-year mortgages fell to an average of 4.19%, a new low that beats rates going back decades, according to mortgage purchaser Freddie Mac, which tracks rates. It's down from 4.27% the previous week.

In company news, shares of Apollo Group ( APOL ) continued their slide from the pre-market after the company withdrew its forecast for fiscal 2011 citing regulatory scrutiny and a possible 40% decline in new students, Bloomberg reported. New student enrollment in degree programs fell to 92,000 in the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, from 102,000 a year earlier, Apollo said in a statement yesterday.

EMC Corp ( EMC ) is surging amid speculation that it could be bought out by Oracle Corp ( ORCL ). Neither company has commented on the rumor, but many analysts note that Oracle has been interested in buying out the data storage system maker for some time.

Yahoo ( YHOO ) reportedly hired Goldman Sachs ( GS ) to help defend against possible takeover approaches, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. Yahoo shares have traded higher following a Wall Street Journal report that AOL ( AOL ) and several private equity firms are considering a potential takeover bid. Yahoo is seen as "more valuable to a financial buyer able to unlock the value of the assets in a private setting," said Youssef Squali, an analyst at Jefferies, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Citigroup Inc ( C ) is falling along with other major banks, including Wells Fargo & Co ( WFC ) and Bank of America Corp. ( BAC ), amid concerns about foreclosure halts. FBR Capital Markets' analyst Paul Miller cautioned that the banking industry could lose between $1 billion and $10 billion on foreclosure-related costs. On Wednesday, all 50 U.S. states launched a joint investigation of the mortgage industry which may slow down sales of foreclosed homes and in turn hurt the housing market.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, UBS AG ( UBS ) said it will not take legal action against the company's former executives who oversaw the bank during the financial crisis, claiming the bank "learnt the lessons" from the credit crisis, according to a Bloomberg report. Certain shareholder group have urged UBS board to take legal action.

Verizon Communications Inc ( VZ ) is on the rise after its mobile unit Verizon Wireless said it will begin selling Apple Inc's ( AAPL ) iPad tablet handhelds from Oct. 28. The deal ends AT&T Inc's ( T ) reign as the sole network provider for Apple's latest device. Speculation abounds that the deal will be extended to Apple's iPhones as well.

ExxonMobil ( XOM ) awarded a wellwork contract to Halliburton ( HAL ) integrated services contract through ExxonMobil Iraq Ltd. for refurbishment of wells in the West Qurna field in Southern Iraq, according to a statement from the companies. Halliburton will provide on-site logistics and technical support for both rigless and rig-assisted workovers, the statement said.

Other services provided by Halliburton include provision of a workover rig, coiled tubing, slickline services, logging, production enhancement and well testing, the statement said.

In analyst actions:

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) shares are just higher as the company was reportedly initiated with a "buy" at Capstone. The firm has a $53 target on HP shares.

NxStage Medical ( NXTM ) shares have dropped lower following a downgrade at Rodman & Renshaw in the pre-market session. The firm dropped its rating on the stock to "underperform" from "market perform" and cited a sum-of-the-parts valuation for the move. The firm placed a $15 price target on the shares.

Myriad Genetics ( MYGN ) shares are on the rise following comments from an analyst who said the company could be an acquisition target, according to a report. Michael Yee, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco, bumped his rating on the firm to "outperform."

Shares of Goodrich ( GR ) are lower as the company is reportedly downgraded to "sell" from "hold" at Societe Generale. The firm's price target on Goodrich shares is unavailable.

Shares of MGM Resorts ( MGM ) are lower after the company was reportedly upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO Capital. The firm cited its belief that metrics at Las Vegas are stabilizing. The firm also said MGM has other near-term catalysts for the stock. The firm has a price target of $18 on company shares.

Shares of TC Pipelines ( TCLP ) are lower after the company was reportedly downgraded to "underperform" from "market perform" at Wells Fargo. The firm reportedly cited valuation as the reason for the move.

Commodities are mixed as December gold contracts rose $4, or 0.26%, to $1,374 an ounce while November crude contacts are just lower 0.08%, or $0.05, at $82.93 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 0.08% to $36.19 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) was up 1.37% to $5.94.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is up 0.19% to $134.32. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is down 0.41% to $58.35. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 1.65% to $23.88.

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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