Mid-Day Update: Stocks Lower at Session's Half; Revised GDP Data Weighs on Sentiment

By MidnightTrader.com Staff,

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Stocks have downshifted into the session's half, hit by the double-whammy of a downward revision of third quarter economic growth and the failure of Congress's debt reduction committee to reach a deal late yesterday. The major equities indexes are all lower as investors await meeting minutes from the Federal Reserves Open Market Committee meeting, which are due at 2 pm EST.

This morning, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew 2% in the third quarter, which was down from the 2.5% annualized pace the government had initially estimated.

Late yesterday, the co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the Super Committee, confirmed that its members have failed to reach agreement on lowering the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. As a result, spending cuts equal to that amount are slated to take effect automatically in 2013. Some analysts say the still-weak economy will reflect that lost boost.

In mid-day company news:

Shares of American International Group ( AIG ) are down while Bloomberg reports the insurance company's mortgage guarantee division will allow concessions to assist borrowers in the refinancing troubled home loans. The move will come under a U.S. government program.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. ( UNH ) is up after announcing it had agreed to buy XLHealth Corp. for an undisclosed amount of cash. UNH expects to close the deal during the first half of 2012 and said it should add to its per-share earnings.

Pfizer ( PFE ) shares are lower as the company makes an acquisition of a company making treatments for cardiovascular, metabolic and rare neurodegenerative diseases. Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals ( ISIS ) are unchanged as the company said that it will receive up to $14 million from Pfizer for its equity ownership of Excaliard Pharmaceuticals.

Shares of Apple ( AAPL ) are higher while Barron's reports that Piper Jaffray's analyst Gene Munster said that the computer maker has about 85% to 90% of the market share - in terms of dollars spent - on mobile applications. The report notes that, by comparison, Google's (GOOG) Android Market has generated 7% of the gross revenue that the App store has.

Bank of America's (BAC) board of directors was told the bank could face enforcement actions if actions weren't taken to strengthen its position, according to a Wall Street Journal report. BAC shares are down in mid-day trading.

Shares of Chevron Corp. (CVX) are higher after Brazil's leading environmental regulator late Monday imposed a 50 million Brazilian reais ($28 million) fine for environmental damages after a drilling incident caused between 2,400 barrels and 3,000 barrels of oil to leak into the Atlantic Ocean near Chevron's Frade field,as reported by MarketWatch.

Airline shares are seeing mixed action in the regular session with Delta Airlines (DAL) getting a boost after Raymond James has initiated the airline with an Outperform. DAL shares are up 1.53%. United Continental (UAL) following Delta higher, gaining 1.6% through the first half of trading. AMR Corp. (AMR) - parent of American Airlines - fell 1.7% along with US AirwaYs (LCC), which was down 0.9%.

In other airline stocks: LUV: -1.4%; ALK: -1.3%; JBLU: -1.8%; SKYW: +1.1%.

Commodities are higher as January gold contracts are up 1.09% to $1,697 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up 0.34% to $97.26 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.21% to $37.51 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.89%, to $7.78.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.91% to $164.99. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.25% to $56.34. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.95% to $31.37.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 63.30 (-0.9%) to 7,070.52

-DJIA down 23.31 (-0.2%) to 11,524.00

-S&P 500 down 0.91 (-0.08%) to 1,193.89

-Nasdaq down 0.46 (-0.04%) to 2,523.88


Nikkei down 0.40%

Hang Seng up 0.14%

Shanghai Composite down 0.10%

FTSE-100 down 0.3%

DAX-30 down 1.2%


NYSE Energy down 1.25% at 11,768.15

NYSE Financial down 0.91% at 3,783.37

NYSE Health Care down 0.5% at 6,520.15

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 0.41% at 1,054.51


(-) HPQ (-3.6%) Q4 results top expectations

(-) FRO (-39.9%) swings to Q4 losses

(-) LEN (-2.5%) proposes convertible notes offering

(-) NFLX (-2.1%) prices $400 million equity, convertible notes financing

(-) XOM (-1.2%) Iraq considering sanctions against refiner


(+) CVX (+0.6%) Brazil regulator levies fines for spill

(+) NVDA (+2.1%) Needham has upgraded NVIDIA (NVDA) to Buy from Underperform.

(+) BRCD (+12.1%) reports Q4 revenue beat

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) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: AAPL , AIG , ISIS , PFE , UNH

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