Stocks are higher at mid-day, with most of the major U.S. stock
indices trading just below their highs for the session, supported
by rising confidence among American home-builders along with new
signs authorities will be able to contain Europe's ongoing debt
An upbeat forecast by Linear Technology (
) also worked to spark a rally for semiconductor-makers.
The National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index, which asks builders about perceptions of single
family home sales and about expectations going forward for the next
six months, showed a four point increase in builder confidence to
25, the highest level since June 2007.
The International MOnetary Fund said Wednesday it likely will
need raise another $500 billion for loans to struggling European
countries in order to avert a larger crisis. Becuase more solvent
economies have already pledged about $200 billion to the IMF, the
$500-billion goal was seen to be within range, also buoying trader
Tempering that optimism, however, was news of The World Bank
overnight trimming its forecast for 2012 global growth to 5.4% from
6.2%. It also cut its projections for growth in developed countries
to 1.4, down from a previous 2.7%, with growth slowing to a 0.3%
pace in the 17-country euro-zone.
In economic reports, output at factories, mines and utilities
rose 0.4% in December, the most in about a year, according to the
Federal Reserve. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg, on average,
forecast 0.5% growth. The December rise followed a revised 0.3%
advance in November.
Factory utilization climbed to 78.1% of overall capacity to
77.8% in November.
Also, prices paid to U.S. wholesalers unexpectedly fell in
December with the producer-price index slipping 0.1% following a
0.3% gain in November, the Labor Department reports.
In company news, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (
) is higher today after beating Street forecasts this morning,
reporting a $1.84-per-share Q4 profit, easily topping the $1.24
consensus EPS forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The
$978 million gain for the final three months of 2011, however, was
down 56% from year-ago levels.
Yahoo Inc (
) co-founder Jerry Yang last night quit the company he started in
1995, leaving two weeks after the Internet portal company hired a
new CEO. YHOO share are rising today, which most analysts
attributed to perceptions Yang had been standing in the way of
possible deals for parts or all of the company.
Commodities are mostly unchanged today with gold futures
essentially flat at $1,654.70 an ounce, down 70 cents. February
crude oil futures were up about 10 cents in late morning trade at
$100.81 a barrel.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (
) is ahead 0.24% to $160.88. Market Vectors Gold Miners (
) is up 0.45% to $53.42. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.27% to
In Energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.15% to
$38.85; the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) also is up 0.56%
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE up 43.86 (+0.57%) to 7,714.3301
-DJIA up 42.35 (+0.34%) to 12,524.42
-S&P 500 up 5.92 (+0.46%) to 1,299.58997
-Nasdaq up 20.99 (+0.77%) to 2,749.07
Nikkei up 1.0%.
Hang Seng up 0.3%.
Shanghai Composite down 1.4%.
FTSE-100 up 0.1%.
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy up 90.33 (0.72%) to 12,693.84.
NYSE Financial up 38.51 (0.91%) to 4,269.17
NYSE Health Care up 27.11 (0.38%) to 7,146.56
NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 15.38 (1.38%) to 1,131.54
(+) MLVF, (+17.2%) Converting to stock holding company.
(+) UEPS, (+35.3%) Wins 5-year contract to distribute social
grants in South Africa
(-) SST, (-7.0%) Accelerating its expense control program, see
slow global growth.
(-) BXS, (-6.7%) Banks profits drop, schedules offering to sell
Completion of new Alaska drilling rigs delayed; Q4 EPS reduced
by about $0.95.