Mid-Day Update: Stocks Holding Gains Despite Small Misses in Today's Economic Data


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Stocks are broadly higher Wednesday, gaining for the first time in a week after postive manufacturing data abroad raised confidence that the economy is continuing to grow.

The U.S. manufacturing index rose to 54.1 in January from 53.1 in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a private economic data firm. Figures higher than 50 indicate growth. The new ISM report, which trailed expectations by 0.4.

Companies added 170,000 workers in January, reflecting job gains in services and at small businesses, according to a report from ADP Employer Services based on payrolls. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecasting 182,000 new jobs.

However, construction spending rose in December at 1.5%, the Commerce Department said. Economists polled by Bloomberg had been expecting O.5% growth.

Better-than-expected manufacturing surveys out of Europe and China earlier today also lifted the mood and overshadowed mixed U.S. data.

In company news, Marathon Petroleum Corp ( MPC ) surged 12.5%, shaking off an earnings miss by saying it is evaluating strategic alternatives for its pipelines and other midstream assets, including a possible initial public offering of a master limited partnership.

Also, NYSE Euronext( NYX ), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is edging higher after European regulators blocked its propsed merger with Deutsche Boerse AG.

Amazon ( AMZN ) shares are down nearly 10% after its Q4 profit fell 53% from year-ago levels and revenues were nearly $1 billion short of analysts' forecasts despite 35% year-over-year growth. The online retailer reported a $0.38 per share profit on $17.43 billion in sales during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2011. That compares with a year-ago profit of $0.91 a share on $12.95 billion in revenues and the analyst consensus expecting a $0.17 EPS and $18.25 billion in Q4 sales. AMZN's Q1 revenue projections also disappointed.

Morgan Stanley ( MS ) is building on earlier gains, with shares now 5% higher and traders starting to factor in a huge windfall for the investment bankers if the company -- as expected -- is selected as the lead underwriter for Facebook's upcoming IPO.

Commodities are mixed with gold for March delivery adding $12.20 to reach $1,751.30 an ounce. Crude oil also had been trading higher today but turned lower in recent minutes after the government's latest inventory report found a 4.2 million barrel increase, higher than estimates. At last look, March crude was down a penny at $98.47 a barrel. Natural gas is continuing its plunge, sliding another 11 cents today to $2.395 per 1 million British Thermal Units.

Among precious metal ETFs, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF is up 0.53% at $56.76 with the SPDR Gold Trust up 0.38% at $169.95. The iShares Silver Trust is up 2.04% at $32.94.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund is up 0.11% to $37.86. The United States Natural Gas Fund is down 2.96% to $5.09.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 110.51 (1.41%) at 7,948.99.

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 137.25 (1.09%) at 12,770.16.

S&P 500 up 14.16 (1.08%) at 1,326.57.

NASDAQ Composite up 31.21 (1.11%) at 2,845.05 .


Nikkei up 0.08%.

Hang Seng down 0.28%.

Shanghai Composite up 1.07%.

FTSE-100 up 1.86%.


NYSE Energy up 104.95 (0.82%) at 12,925.63.

NYSE Financial up 88.91 (2.02%) at 4,494.19.

NYSE Health Care up 84.89 (1.19%) at 7,212.49.

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 19.99 (1.70%) at 1,193.45.


(+) COCO, (+31.7%) Q3 $0.02 EPS on $415.5 million in revs both top Street calls.

(+) MDVN , (+12.3%) Experimental prostate treatment yields positive results in trial.


(-) JDAS, (-17.5%) Securities regulators probing accounting procedures.

(-) KWK, (-12.0%) Says 2012 capital spending to nearly halve from 2011 due to low natural gas prices.

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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