Stocks are clinging to a skin-tight range on Thursday, buoyed by
bullish housing data and better-than-expected earnings from Best
) and Williams Sonoma (
). After a tame pull-back that followed a larger-than-expected rise
in initial jobless claims last week, equities were back near their
session highs this afternoon. But just as it has been through all
of this week, volume has been extremely thin, with investors
hesitant to take aggressive positions prior to the long holiday
weekend in the U.S.
Other than a 28,000 gain in first-time unemployment claims to
326,000 during the week ended May 17, topping estimates looking for
a 13,000 gain, Thursday's economic data was mostly
Also, the Chicago Fed reported national economic activity slowed
during April, with their index sliding to a negative 32 reading
last month from a positive 34 score reported in March.
But the Markit Purchasing Managers Index showed a respectable
gain in manufacturing activity, with its May index increasing to a
56.2 reading from 55.4 last month, beating estimates for a 55.9
That followed by a 1.3% improvement in existing home sales to a
seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.65, narrowly trailing
estimates looking for a 4.69 million annualized pace.
Europe closed mostly higher in tandem with positive action in
the U.S. as well as on upbeat Chinese manufacturing data. Although
the FTSE-100 dipped into negative territory, the other major
indices on the continent held onto modest gains.
Leading indicators were up 0.4% in April, meeting estimates, but
the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index jumped to 10.0 in May from
7.0 the month prior.
Crude oil was down $0.07 to $104.00 per barrel. Natural gas was
down $0.09 to $4.39 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $7.70 to
$1,295.80 an ounce, while silver was up $0.18 to $19.52 an ounce.
Copper was up $0.02 to $3.14 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.26% to
$38.08 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.18% to
$24.24. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was down 0.08% to 23.46 while SPDR Gold Shares were up
0.31% to $124.78. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.57% to
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 33.74 (+0.32%) to 10,654.18
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 21.09 (+0.13%) to 16,554.15
S&P 500 up 6.59 (+0.35%) to 1,894.62
Nasdaq Composite Index up 25.38 (+0.61%) to 4,156.91
Nikkei 225 Index up 2.11%
Hang Seng Index up 0.51%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.18%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.01%
CAC 40 up 0.21%
DAX up +0.24%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.03%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.35%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.33%
(+) LIQD (+21.66%) Insider buys another 25,000 shares.
(+) KIRK (+13.98%) Reported better-than-expected Q1 results and
provided guidance for Q2 and fiscal 2014.
(+) NTLS (+18.83%) Extends strategic network deal with Sprint (
) through 2022.
(+) ROYL (+38.38%) Identifies large drillable target on Alaska
3D seismic data.
(-) WSTL (-15.08%) Reported mixed financial results for Q4.
(-) LO (-4.92%) CNBC reports proposed merger with Reynolds
American (ROI) still has a long way to go.
(-) BONT (-5.08%) Posts wider-than-expected Q1 loss.
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