Mid-Day Update: Stocks In Strong Advance as Investors Cheer Fed Move, Shrug Off Jobless Data

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 133.17 (+1.75%) to 7,741.58

-DJIA up 177.63 (+1.58%) to 11,392.76

-S&P 500 up 17.10 (+1.44%) to 1,215.16

-Nasdaq up 31.60 (+1.24%) to 2,571.11


Hang Seng up 1.62%

Nikkei up 2.17%

FTSE up 1.8%


NYSE Energy up 2.59% at 11,791.71

NYSE Financial up 1.82% at 4,886.26

NYSE Health Care up 0.47% at 6,526.74

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 1.01% at 1,044.27


(+) WFMI (+13.9%) continues evening gain that followed solid earnings.

(+) QCOM (+6%) continues evening gain that followed upbeat earnings.

(+) F (+4.7%) gaining in active volume after encouraging October sales.

(+) M (+4.3%) gains after Oct. sales.

(+) URRE (+7.6%) inks LOI with Cameco unit.

(+) ARO (+1.3%) down after sales data.


(-) ALU (-7.7%) draws negative reaction to revenue news.

(-) COCO (-8.9%) downgraded.

(-) KSS (-2.4%) gains after dip in sales, backing EPS guidance.

(-) SIRI (-0.64%) gains after earnings.


Stocks are broadly higher, extending prior session gains, after the Federal Reserve announced additional steps to spur the U.S. economy. Investors mostly shrugged off new data that showed an increase in jobless benefits claims.

Earlier, the Fed announced plans to purchase an additional $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011, a pace of about $75 billion per month and slightly above what Wall Street was expecting.

Along with that, the Fed will also keep reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. Stocks were choppy after the announcement, having gained in the build-up to the official announcement.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed a 20,000-person jump in weekly jobless benefits claims after recent declines. Economists predicted a slightly smaller rise.

The cost of a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to an average of 4.24% this week, according to Freddie Mac, up from an average of 4.23% last week and up from an all-time low, dating back to 1971, of 4.19% last month. The average rate on 15-year fixed loan fell to 3.63% from 3.66% last week, while five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to their lowest level, 3.39%, in at least five years, down from 3.41%.

In company news, Dell Inc. ( DELL ) said its plans to focus M&A activity on expanding IT services in specific markets as the company looks to diversify beyond its core PC business, Reuters reported, citing a senior executive with the company. The company does not plan to concentrate on making large acquisitions in the near future, the report said.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM ) said its will start refiling foreclosure documents in a couple of weeks. JPMorgan, along with several other banks, temporarily stopped home seizures after finding problems with foreclosure documents For its part, JPMorgan halted foreclosure proceedings in 40 states, affecting about 127,000 loans, the report said.

Walgreen Co. ( WAG ) said it has increased its share of the retail pharmacy market to 19.5% from 18.2% in 2008, according to a Reuters report. The drugstore chain--the largest in the U.S.--also said it is on track to meet its goal of $1 billion in savings for 2011, the report said.

Shares of Ford Motor ( F ) are in solidly positive territory a day after the company reported sales that outperformed the U.S. auto industry. Yesterday, Ford said U.S. October sales increased by 19.2% to 157,935 vehicles from 132,483 a year ago. Also yesterday, General Motors filed for a $13 billion initial public offering that places a value of $49 billion on that automaker, assuming the exercise of all warrants, Reuters reported.

Tesla Motors, Inc. ( TSLA ) is higher after the company said Panasonic Corp. had invested $30 million through a private placement of stock. Panasonic bought the shares at $21.15, a discount to Tesla's Wednesday close of $21.77. The stock is up about 40% since it went public on June 29, according to MarketWatch.

BHP Billiton Ltd ( BHP ) is surging after the Canadian government rejected the company's $40 billion bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan ( POT ). While BHP has been given the opportunity to review its options and 30 days to review its bid, most analysts expected the deal to fall through.

In the latest earnings news:

--Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc ( ONXX ) is higher in morning trade after its third quarter results jumped on the back of license deal worth $59 million.

--Sunrise Senior Living ( SRZ ) are higher as the company reported that it swung to a profit in its third quarter, helped by buyout fees related to its settlement with HCP ( HCP ), Reuters reported. Sunrise ( SRZ ) reported Q3 revenue of $383.3 million, up from $361.5 million in Q3 last year. Net income was $0.33, vs. a year ago loss of $0.88 per share.

--Shares of independent oil and gas exploration company Apache Corp ( APA ) are higher despite reporting third quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations. Adjusted EPS was $2.19 versus the $2.24 consensus.

--Liz Claiborne ( LIZ ) is higher after it narrowed is Q3 loss compared with a year ago on cost cutting and higher margins, although it still missed the Street on earnings and sales.

--Whole Foods Market Inc ( WFMI ) is higher as the organic supermarket group reported strong earnings results for the fourth quarter and raised its full-year outlook.

--Kohl's ( KSS ) is down after it says October same-store sales fell 2.5%. It sees Q3 EPS between $0.57 to $0.58, consistent with the low end of its previous guidance of $0.57 to $0.63, including an accounting correction resulting from recently identified errors in the company's accounting for leased properties.

--Qualcomm ( QCOM ) is up near 6%, after the company reported fourth quarter results that beat expectations on the back of strong smartphone sales.

--Cablevision Systems Corp ( CVC ) is lower after the cable group reported third quarter earnings that fell short of expectations.

Commodities are mixed as December gold contracts are up $41, or 3.04%, to $1,378 an ounce while December crude contacts are up 1.89%, or $1.60, at $86.29 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 1.5% to $37.29 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is down 1.81% to $5.42.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is down 2.4% to $134.73. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is down 3.79% to $59.40. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is down 3.55% to $25.11.

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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