Midday Update: Stocks Mixed as Debt Ceiling, Shutdown Drama Erases Post-Yellen Gains

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Stocks are mixed at mid-day, giving back early gains that followed reports President Obama later today will officially name Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as worries over the ongoing standoff in Congress over the federal budget and debt ceiling still dominate investor attitudes. Technical issue also are influencing today's trade, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average earlier breaching key support at its 200-day moving average of 14,720 only to recover while the Nasdaq Composite is trading below its 50-day moving average at 3,692.54.

Among individual stocks, upbeat earnings from Alcoa ( AA ) were offset by disappointing earnings from Yum! Brands ( YUM ) and Costco ( COST ), while pressure on home builders continues as consumers increasingly appear to be postponing major purchases as the government shutdown continues.

The Fed this afternoon will release minutes from its last policy meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee three weeks ago when members nearly unanimously voted to leave asset purchases unchanged at $85 billion. However, as the economic landscape continues to transform due to developments in Washington, the context of the minutes loses its significance.

European markets were mixed with the FTSE 100 pressured by weak manufacturing data from the UK while the German DAX got a lift by upbeat industrial production data. But the gains were once again tempered by pressure on the U.S. markets and likely impact the shutdown will have on the economy in Europe.

Crude oil was down $1.92 to $101.57 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.03 to $3.69 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $22.30 to $1,302.20 an ounce, while silver) was down $0.57 to $21.87 an ounce. Copper was down $0.06 to $3.23 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.88% to $36.60 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.79% to $18.95. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.89% to 23.45 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.41% to $125.60. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.00% to $21.06.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 3.69 (-0.04%) to 9,479.48

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 4.43 (+0.03%) to 14,780.96

S&P 500 down 2.26 (-0.14%) to 1,653.19

Nasdaq Composite Index down 30.32 (-0.82%) to 3,664.51

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index up 1.03%

Hang Seng Index down 0.63%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.62%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.44%

CAC 40 down 0.16%

DAX down 0.46%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.58%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.29%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.20%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) MW (+27.9%) Jos. A. Bank Clothiers ( JOSB ) makes a $48 per share cash offer for the rival men's apparel retailer - with MW later rejecting the $2.3-billion offer.

(+) MG (+9.1%) Reports Q1 results that beat expectations and affirms prior forecast for FY14 revenue.

(+) AA (+3.3%) Reports Q3 EPS of $0.11, ex-items, beating the analyst consensus by $0.06 per share. Revenue was largely in-line at $5.8 billion.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ARIA (-70.4%) FDA puts a partial hold on new patient enrollments in clinical trials of its Iclusig drug candidate after some patients suffered from serious side effects including blood clots and other cardiac problems.

(-) CYTR (-19.0%) Prices public offering of 10 million shares of common stock at $2.25 apiece.

(-) LRN (-36.5%) Announces lower-than-expected 2014 revenue guidance, triggering a downgrade to Neutral from Robert Baird.



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.

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


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AA , COST , JOSB , YUM

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