Midday Update: Stocks Higher Ahead of FOMC Minutes, Alcoa Revenue Beat

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Buoyed by earnings from Alcoa ( AA ) and expectations for the Federal Reserve will applaud recent economic indicators, stocks Wednesday have halted a two-day decline and were holding on to conservative gains ahead of the release of minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting at 2 p.m. ET. Airline and tech stocks were outperforming today although most sectors were higher with the exception of interest-rate sensitive utility stocks

After the closing bell Tuesday, AA kicked off the Q2 earnings season reporting $5.8 billion in quarterly revenue, beating estimates by around $200 million. Although the company only met analyst estimates looking for net income of $0.12 per share, the report encouraged investors worried that Q2 earnings might reflect sluggish consumer spending and capital investment.

Also, airline stocks are getting a boost from raised passenger revenue guidance from American Airlines ( AAL ) and Southwest Airlines ( LUV ), while Citigroup ( C ) is trading with a small loss amid reports that the banking giant is close to reaching a $7 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department tied to mortgage sales.

European equities were mixed with UK stocks pressured by an unexpected drop in the housing price index, but German and French markets underpinned by expectations that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will endorse an easier monetary policy in a speech later this afternoon.

Crude oil was down $0.96 to $102.44 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.02 to $4.22 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $6.80 to $1,323.40 an ounce, while silver was up $0.10 to $21.11 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.26 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.15% to $37.74 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.34% to $23.22. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.36% to 26.81 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.17% to $127.28. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.18% to $20.17.

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

NYSE Composite Index up 17.56 (+0.16%) to 10,980.72

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 37.28 (+0.22%) to 16,943.90

S&P 500 up 4.60 (+0.23%) to 1,968.31

Nasdaq Composite Index up 18.88 (+0.43%) to 4,410.34

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 0.08%

Hang Seng Index down 1.55%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.23%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.30%

CAC 40 up 0.40%

DAX up 0.36%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.95%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.07%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.10%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) AVAV (+15.28%) Reported better-than-expected Q2 earnings and revenue.

(+) GSIT (+10.00%) Began a modified Dutch auction tender offer to repurchase up to $25 million of its common stock.

(+) ACST (+11.11%) Completed trials of its CaPre drug candidate to treat hypertriglyceridemia.

(+) LXRX (+4.45%) Collaborates with JDRF for Phase II trial on type 1 diabetes drug.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) MCP (-11.50%) Apollo Global acquires additional Molycorp bonds to gain control to thwart MCP attempts to restructure debt.

(-) GIMO (-32.40%) Revenue guidance cut below street estimates.

(-) TCS (-9.01%) Reports larger fiscal Q1 loss than expected; same store sales slip.



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.

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


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AA , AAL , LUV , C

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