Mid-Day Update: Stocks Log Solid Rebound; 30-Year Mortgage Rate Drops Below 4%

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Stocks are higher in mid-day trading while developments in Italy eased immediate concerns among international lenders allowing a smooth sale of Italian bonds. At the same time, concern is rising about France's debt level. Stateside, weekly employment data showed a decline in initial jobless claims to the lowest level in seven months.

In weekly unemployment data, the U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 390,000 in the week ended Nov. 5, below the 398,000 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll and the lowest level since April 2.

Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised higher to 400,000 from an initially reported 397,000. The four-week average of new claims, seen as a better indicator due to the reduced volatility, dropped by 5,250 to 400,000, the lowest level since April 16.

Also, U.S. imports grew cheaper last this month. The Labor Department reported import prices dropped 0.6% this month, which was more than economists had expected - a 0.1% drop - according to a MarketWatch poll.

The rate on a 30-year mortgage fell below 4% for the second time this year. Rates are averaging 3.99%.

In Europe, Italian lawmakers were working to quickly approve economic measures in an effort to shore up market confidence. Italy's president named Mario Monti, a respected former European commissioner, as senator for life, potentially paving the way for Monti to lead a technocrat government, MarketWatch reported.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sean Egan founding principal of Egan-Jones rating noted that the sovereign debt rating on Italy is on review while France's sovereign debt rating is "probably headed south," the report quoted Egan as saying.

In mid-day company news:

Shares of Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) are down while The Wall Street Journal notes in a report several reasons selling pressure is high on the stock. Possibilities cited in the report, which the WSJ obtained from JPMorgan, include that iPad unit sales are cut from Cleveland Research, a market research firm. CLSA warned that iPad production cuts are greater than previously thought and that Amazon's ( AMZN ) Kindle Fire is doing better than expected. comScore data showed Google's Android OS grew to nearly 45% of the smartphone market and Apple's iOS increased slightly from the previous month to 27.4% despite the sales impact from the iPhone 4S launching the next month.

PepsiCo ( PEP ) today announced it has acquired Mabel, a producer of cookies, crackers and snacks in Brazil. The company says the acquisition is expected to further strengthen PepsiCo's business in a key emerging growth market.

Shares of Wells Fargo ( WFC ) are higher while Bizjournals.com reports that the bank launched a group to provide financial services for publicly traded real estate investment trusts. Targeted REITs for the group are those involved in commercial property, the report said.

Teekay Offshore Partners ( TOO ) gained after it said that it will acquire the Sevan Piranema floating production, storage and offloading unit from Sevan Marine ASA for about $165 million.

Shares of Wendy's (WEN) are seeing additional pressure through the first half of trading as the burger chain is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, StreetInsider.com reported today.

Merck & Co. (MRK) shares are higher while the drug maker said that it has overhauled its research operation to allow for more productivity and has begin a new business strategy, the Associated Press reported from a daylong business briefing at the company's New Jersey headquarters. The report cited MRK CEO Kenneth Frazier as saying the company is looking to keep 2012 revenue about the same as this year's.

Commodities are mixed as December gold contracts are down 2.04% to $1,754 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are up 1.76% to $97.42 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.62% to $37.60 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.48%, to $8.36.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.79% to $170.70. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.6% to $60.32. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.82% to $32.83.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 67.51 (+0.92%) to 7,420.96

-DJIA up 122.42 (+0.95%) to 11,892.76

-S&P 500 up 10.15 (+0.83%) to 1,239.25

-Nasdaq up 5.49 (+0.2%) to 2,626.80


Nikkei up 1.16 %.

Hang Seng up 1.71%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.8%.

FTSE-100 down 2.07%.

DAX-30 down 2.46%.


NYSE Energy up 1.39% at 12,436.31

NYSE Financial up 0.45% at 4,036.55

NYSE Health Care up 1.2% at 6,747.62

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.2% at 1,101.67


(+) CSCO (+6.5%) continues evening gain after earnings, guidance beat; at least one upgrade this morning.

(+) KSS (+3.4%) beats with EPS, raises guidance.

(+) AAP (+3.9%) beats with EPS, guides above Street.

(+) VRTX (+4.5%) upgraded.

(+) UBS (+1.5%) reportedly to close U.S. asset-backed securities business.

(+) CAT (+0.9%) eyeing Hong Kong mining machinery acquisition.

(+) KLIC (+7.2%) beats with EPS but expects Q1 revenue miss.

(+) PCG (+0.1%) downgraded.


(-) SD (-5.1%) firm despite downgrade.

(-) GMCR (-36.1%) continues evening plunge that followed disappointing guidance.

(-) TTWO (-5.5%) selling convertible notes.

(-) PEGA (-21.7%) continues evening drop after earnings miss.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: AAPL , AMZN , PEP , TOO , WFC

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