Midday Update: Stocks Guided Higher By Pharma Deals, Econ Data; Nasdaq Gives Back Early Gains

By MidnightTrader.com Staff,

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Stocks were higher Monday but were struggling to hold on to early gains fueled by major deals in the pharmaceutical sector and market-friendly data on housing and regional manufacturing. The Nasdaq Composite index, in particular, was sputtering, recently slipping into the red for the second straight day due to pressure on small-cap and momentum stocks.

The healthcare sector contributed to the early advance for equities, with Pfizer ( PFE ) before the open upping its offer for Astra-Zeneca ( AZN ) to $100 billion, while Forest Labs ( FRX ) made an offer worth up to $1.5 billion for Furiex Pharmaceuticals ( FURX ).

Stocks also got a boost from today's economic data. After a dismal winter, the National Association of Realtors Monday reported home sales were up for the first time in nine months. According to their research, pending home sales rose 3.4% during March, beating the consensus estimate for a more modest gain of 0.6%.

In the Dallas Fed region, manufacturing improved in April as the index measuring production activity jumped to 11.7, almost twice the consensus estimate and well above 4.9 in February.

European markets strengthened after the U.S. and Europe imposed further sanctions against Russia in an attempt to discourage Putin against taking more aggressive action in Ukraine. Although sanctions could cause Russia to retaliate by cutting Russian oil to Europe, the hope that it will ease the geo-political risk to equities is outweighing any risk to the European economy.

Crude oil was down $0.09 to $100.52 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.11 to $4.76 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $5.08 to $1,294.90 an ounce, while silver was down $0.17 to $19.55 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.09 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.14% to $36.55 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 2.25% to $26.41. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.71% to 23.97 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.57% to $124.71. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.92% to $18.77.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 2.23 (+0.02%) to 10,507.24

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 58.57 (+0.36%) to 16,420.03

S&P 500 down 0.03 (0.00%) to 1,863.37

Nasdaq Composite Index down 29.96 (-0.74%) to 4,045.61


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.98%

Hang Seng Index down 0.41%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.62%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.22%

CAC 40 up 0.38%

DAX up 0.48%


NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.24%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.32%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.64%


(+) FURX (+29.21%) Acquired by Forest Laboratories ( FRX ) for $1.1 billion.

(+) AZN (+13.14%) Pfizer ( PFE ) offers $100 billion.

(+) ACW (+4.60%) Reported better-than-expected Q1 results and provided revenue guidance for fiscal 2014 in line with analysts' expectations.


(-) ATHX (-55.33%) Interim results from the Phase 2 clinical study of the administration of MultiStem cell therapy failed to show meaningful benefit.

(-) HAE (-8.93%) Reported fiscal Q4 financial results and guidance short of analysts' expectations.

(-) BAC (-5.07%) Suspended its capital plan and dividend increase following downward revisions to financial reserves required by regulators.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: PFE , AZN , FRX , FURX

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