MIDDAY UPDATE: Stocks Mixed As Market Responds to Chicago PMI, FOMC Statement


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Stocks are mixed this afternoon, with profit-taking amplified by an impressive gain in a regional manufacturing index pulling blue-chips and other U.S. equities into negative territory. Traders largely shrugged off the Federal Reserve yesterday choosing to maintain its accommodative monetary policy, instead focusing on more hawkish language in the post-meeting statement indicating the central bank could yet start tapering its stimulus efforts by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

The Nasdaq Composite is now laboring under losses for momentum stocks as well as a reversal for Facebook ( FB ) shares. The social-networking company rose after posting better than expected earnings last night but started giving back those gains after company executives admitted some teens have lost interest in Facebook in favor of rival websites Instagram and Tumblr.

Economic data this morning included a smaller-than-expected 10,000 decline in new unemployment insurance claims last week, slipping to 340,000 during the seven days ended Oct. 26. But it was the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index that really worked to shake up the market, surging to more than a three-year high of 65.9 in October, climbing nearly 20% over the prior month and easily dispatching market estimates looking for a 55.0 reading this month.

European equities have proved mostly resilient in the wake of weaker U.S. markets - thanks, in part, to EU inflation data that could provide the European Central Bank with the ammunition it needs to lower interest rates. The data was complimented by bearish EU employment data and weak German retail sales.

Crude oil was down $0.49 to $96.28 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $3.69 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $26.30 to $1,322.80 an ounce, while silver was down $1.03 to $21.97 an ounce. Copper was down $0.03 to $3.30 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.49% to $34.68 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.96% to $17.83. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 3.70% to 25.22 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.42% to $127.76. The iShares Silver Trust was down 3.43% to $21.13.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 14.24 (-0.14%) to 10,040.14

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 7.09 (-0.05%) to 15,611.67

S&P 500 up 0.32 (+0.02%) to 1,763.63

Nasdaq Composite Index up 5.54 (+0.14%) to 3,936.16


Nikkei 225 Index down 1.20%

Hang Seng Index down 0.42%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.87%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.71%

CAC 40 up 0.69%

DAX up 0.10%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.30%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.36%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.18%


(+) FLDM (+17.9%) Reports a $4.3-million net loss , or $0.17 per share, bettering the company's $0.18 a share loss from a year ago.

(+) EXPE (+16.6%) Q3 EPS of $1.43, handily beat Capital IQ consensus for $1.36 profit.

(+) PFPT (+15.3%) Q3 net loss of $0.07 per share, ex items, beats by $0.01. Revenue climbs 27.3% year over year to $34.5 mln, also topping consensus view.


(-) AVP (-23.6%) Cosmetics seller reports Q3 adjusted EPS of $0.14 per share, missing forecasts by $0.05. Total revenue fall 7% to $2.3 billion, also shy of forecasts for $2.4 billion.

(-) STRA (-20.7%) For-profit educator announces Q4 cost reduction efforts, expecting charge against earnings of between $45 million to $55 million.

(-) WTW (-19.3%) Suspends quarterly dividends as it faces a "challenging" 2014.

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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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