Mid-Day Update: Stocks Mixed as Cisco Weighs; Easing Egypt Crisis Provides Lift

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 39.61 (-0.47%) to 8,304.38

-DJIA down 43.98 (-0.36%) to 12,195.91

-S&P 500 down 3.98 (-0.29%) to 1,317.04

-Nasdaq down 8.50 (-0.31%) to 2,780.47

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng down 1.97%

Nikkei down 0.11%

FTSE down 0.60%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 0.14% at 13,302.46

NYSE Financial down 0.76% at 5,255.55

NYSE Health Care down 0.25% at 6,632.27

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.26% at 1,163.95

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) ALU (+19.9%) issues better-than-expected results.

(+) S (+3.2%) beats with revenue.

(+) WFMI (+13.3%) seeing continuing upside reaction to evening earnings beat.

(+) SQNM (+10.3%) up on positive Down Syndrome diagnosis assay study.

(+) MCZ (+19.8%) continues sharp evening gain that followed profit, revenue gains.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) CSCO (-12.8%) continues evening slide that followed disappointing guidance, earnings beat.

(-) WMT (-2.1%) downgraded.

(-) ATVI (-9.3%) continues evening drop that followed guidance miss.

(-) EZCH (-5.5%) misses with sales estimates.

(-) AKAM (-15.9%) continues evening slide that followed disappointing guidance.

(-) TQNT (-4.8%) continues evening slide that followed EPS, guidance miss.

(-) PEP (-2.2%) guides lower for full year.

(-) IDIX (-24.19%) ending some drug developments.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are mixed at mid-session as investors digest yet another stream of earnings news--most notably from Cisco Systems ( CSCO )--while jobless claims figures declined to a two-and-a-half-year low. Adding to the mix is a sharp drop in January foreclosures and easing tensions in Egypt on news President Mubarak might resign.

In the latest employment data, new applications for unemployment benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000 in the week ending Feb. 5. That is the lowest level since July of 2008, the Labor Department reported. Economists had expected an initial-claims level of 410,000 according to MarketWatch.

On the real estate front, RealtyTrac reported that the volume of foreclosures in January fell 17% compared with December. Last month, 261,333 homes received a foreclosure filing, MarketWatch reported.

Overseas, the Bank of England left monetary policy untouched as was mostly expected. Some economists thought a surprise rate hike couldn't be entirely ruled out given recent comments and signs of rekindling inflation risks, even as growth remains tepid.

In company news:

Cisco Systems ( CSCO ) shares are down after the provider of networking equipment reported Q2 sales of $10.4 billion, ahead of the analyst consensus of $10.23 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.37, two cents better than the Street view. Still, the company's gross margin missed analyst estimates. Gross margin fell to 62.4%, short of analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg of 63.3%.

Sequenom ( SQNM ) announced the publication of the results of its "locked assay" study on noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal Trisomy 21 (or Down Syndrome) in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. According to the company, the study demonstrated that massively parallel shotgun sequencing is a potentially viable path for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal Trisomy 21 and warrants its validation in a larger clinical validation study.

Nokia ( NOK ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ) are said to be close to announcing a software partnership, Bloomberg reports. The move is reportedly a bet that both companies will be able to better challenge Google ( GOOG ) and Apple (AAPL).

Medicis Pharmaceutical (MRX) and Anacor Pharmaceuticals (ANAC) announced that the two companies have signed a research and development agreement to discover and develop a potential treatment of acne using boron-based small molecule compounds.

Clearwire (CLWR) is planning on shifting its sales strategy away from retail consumer services toward wholesale clients, Reuters reported late Wednesday. The company will instead look to conserve cash for building its high speed network, according to a source, says Reuters.

Bank of America (BAC) is reportedly planning to close some retail branches this year in an effort to grow revenue from other locations, Bloomberg reports. In remaining locations, the bank will reportedly try to bump up revenues by offering investment advice by videoconference.

In earnings news:

--Goodyear (GT) says Q4 sales were $5.1 billion, more than the Thomson Reuters mean for $4.82 billion. Net loss was $0.73 per share, including items. The Thomson Reuters mean, usually less items, was for a loss of $0.07 per share.

--Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) posted today its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2010. Despite strong financial results for its fourth quarter, shares are down 1.55%.

--Sprint Nextel (S) reports Q4 revenue of $8.3 bln, better than the analyst consensus of $8.15 bln on Thomson Reuters. EPS loss was $0.31.

--Credit Suisse (CS) is down more than 6%, after the company reported a Q4 profit of 841 mln Swiss francs, below Street expectations of 914 mln Swiss francs, according to Marketwatch.com

--Encana (ECA) reports Q4 earnings of $0.09, vs. expectations of $0.13 per share. The stock is up 6.52% in mid-day trading.

--PepsiCo (PEP) announced its fourth-quarter net income fell 5% due to higher costs. The company consequently lowered its full-year guidance. The company posted net income of $1.37 billion, or $0.85 per share, down from $1.43 billion, or $0.90 per share, last year. Ex items, net income was $1.05 per share; the Street view was $1.04 per share.

--Rio Tinto (RIO) says it plans to buy back $5 billion in stock through the end of 2012. It raised its annual dividend payout by 20%. Sales in 2010 rose 35.3% to $56.6 billion, and net attributable profit climbed to $14.3 billion from $4.9 billion a year ago.

--Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) shares are higher after the company reported Q4 revenue of euro 4.86 bln, up 22% from year ago levels. Earnings were euro 0.13 per share. The Street view was euro 4.6 bln in revenue and earnings of euro 0.09. Looking to 2011, the company said it feels confident to grow faster than its addressable market and aims at a significant increase in profitability with an adjusted operating margin above 5% of 2011 sales.

Commodities are mixed as April gold contracts are down $7, or 0.53%, to $1,358 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are up 0.29%, or $0.24., at $86.91 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.05% to $36.52 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.49% to $5.45.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.2% to $132.81. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.93% to $56.95. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.47% to $29.38.



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: CSCO , GOOG , MSFT , NOK , SQNM

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