Mid-Day Update: Stocks Lower as Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke Testifies on Capitol Hill

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 51.28 (-0.61%) to 8,328.57

-DJIA down 17.33 (-0.14%) to 12,215.82

-S&P 500 down 6.19 (-0.47%) to 1,318.36

-Nasdaq down 9.17 (-0.33%) to 2,787.71

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng down 1.36%

Nikkei down 0.17%

FTSE down 0.64%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 1.51% at 13,292.79

NYSE Financial down 0.59% at 5,289.65

NYSE Health Care down 0.35% at 6,630.75

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 0.27% at 1,158.50

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) TTWO (+2.9%) easily beats with results.

(+) DIS (+6%) beats with results.

(+) TSTC (+2.0%) CEO buying shares.

(+) RL (+9.2%) beats with results.

(+) CHBT (+0.4%) beats with results.

(+) CHKP (+3.1) hikes buyback program.

(+) BIDU (+2.8%) upgraded.

(+) PLAB (+14.7%) guides higher.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) JOE (-5.3%) exploring alternatives, including possible sale.

(-) FSLR (-1.5%) inks new deal.

(-) WFC (-2.9%) continues drop seen after announcing CFO retirement.

(-) BCDS (-5.3%) misses with results, outlook.

(-) SNY (-1.3%) warns for declining profit.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are lower in mid-session trading as investors digest Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke's continuing testimony on the economic outlook and monetary and fiscal policy to the House Budget Committee.

Speaking before the committee, Bernanke said that last month's jobless rate decline to 9% from 9.8% offers some reason for optimism, but said it would likely be several years before the unemployment rate returns to more normal levels, according to MarketWatch.

Bernake said, despite economic improvements, the central bank will continue with its $600 billion stimulus plan.

There are no major economic reports due today.

In company news:

Visa ( V ) is down on plans to buy PlaySpan, a privately held company whose payments platform handles transactions for digital goods in online games, digital media and social networks globally. According to the company, the acquisition will complement its 2010 CyberSource acquisition and extend its capabilities into one of the fastest-growing segments of eCommerce--digital and mobile commerce.

EBay ( EBAY ) is down following a Bloomberg report that the online auction company is planning to lay out a three-year plan tomorrow to expand its PayPal unit business and repel threats from Google ( GOOG ) and Apple ( AAPL ). PayPal is Ebay's fastest-growing business. The service is set to generate more sales than EBay's e-commerce market place, the report said.

Teva Pharmaceuticals ( TEVA ) shares are lower despite positive drug trial news. Teva said results from a Phase III study of QNAZE HFA, its nasal aerosol corticosteroid in development to treat perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) and seasonal allergic rhinitis, achieved all primary and secondary efficacy endpoints, demonstrating significantly greater relief of nasal symptoms, including runny nose, nasal congestion, nasal itching and sneezing, compared with placebo.

Goldman Sachs (GS) shares are down after Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said the company bought too many hard-to-sell assets before the financial crisis in 2008, Bloomberg reported. The comments cam from a conference in Miami hosted by Credit Suisse. Viniar said that Goldman was "buying more illiquid assets than we probably should have."

French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) is down following news that ongoing efforts to win over its takeover target U.S biotech Genzyme (GENZ) has prompted the firm to expect an earnings decline this year of between 5% and 10%. The company said it expects generic competition to accelerate next year and predicts a 5% to 10% decline in 2011 business earnings per share. The forecast does not assume a return of generic competition to cancer treatment Eloxatin in the U.S., or any benefit from the possible acquisition of Genzyme, the company said in its only reference to Genzyme in the quarterly earnings statement.

Investors are awaiting results from networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) due after the close today. Analysts are looking for Cisco to report EPS of $0.35 per share. In particular, analysts will be looking to see if CEO John Chambers joins other executives who are becoming more upbeat about the global economy.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP) are planning to close and sell refineries in the United States and Germany due to declining demand for fuels like gasoline, Bloomberg reports.

In earnings news:

--Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) reports Q4 EPS of $0.27, vs. Street estimates of $0.24 per share. Revenue was $993 million, better than expectations of $970 million.

--Coca-Cola (KO) reports Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.72, up 9% from the year-ago quarter and in line with the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate. Revenue of $10.5 billion tops the $7.5 billion seen a year ago. The Street expected $9.96 billion.

--Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) posted net income of $168 million, or $1.72 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2011, versus net income of $111 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 2010. The Street view was $1.29 per share in earnings.

Commodities are mixed. April gold contracts are down $2, or 0.15%, to $1,362 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are down 0.06%, or $0.04., at $86.98 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.46% to $36.47 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.05% to $5.49.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.05% to $133.07. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.13% to $56.70. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.24% to $29.56.



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , EBAY , GOOG , TEVA , V

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