U.S. stocks are drifting lower today after a meeting last night
between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner again
appeared to highlight a lack of progress in resolving a dispute
over tax hikes and spending cuts slated to take effect in 2013.
This has overshadowed positive economic news here and abroad.
Industry groups in the S&P 500 are roughly split between
winners and losers, with technology stocks leading the declines,
including a 3% slide for Apple Inc ( AAPL ) shares after
UBS cut its price target for the company by $80 to $700, citing a
weak debut for its iPhone5 line in China this week. Commodities are
Consumer prices fell in November for the first time in six
months, indicating U.S. inflation pressures were muted and allowing
the Federal Reserve to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy. The
Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index dropped 0.3% in
November with a sharp decline in gasoline prices offsetting
increases in other areas. Economists polled by Bloomberg had
expected consumer prices to fall 0.2%.
A separate report showed manufacturing is growing at its
swiftest pace in eight months. Industrial production expanded 1.1%
last month after a revised 0.7% fall in October, the Federal
Reserve said on Friday. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected
output to gain by 0.3% last month, after October's previously
reported 0.4% drop.
Meanwhile, data out of China was encouraging for its key trading
partners, including the U.S., and for the prospects for global
growth. The preliminary December reading was 50.9 for a purchasing
managers' index released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics,
The positive manufacturing data out of China was supporting
commodity prices today. Crude oil for January delivery is up 77
cents to $86.66 per barrel. January natural gas is down 4 cents to
$3.30 per 1 million BTU. February gold is flat at $1,696.80 per
ounce while March silver is up 3 cents to $32.38 per ounce. March
copper is up a penny at $3.67 per pound.
Among energy ETFs , the US Oil
Fund is up 4 cents to $31.62 and the US Natural Gas Fund is down 19
cents to $18.83. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors
Gold Miners ETF is up 13 cents to $46.47 and the SPDR Gold Shares
ETF is down 21 cents at $164.16. The iShares Silver Trust is down
0.26 cents at $31.27.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 3.44 (-0.04%) to 8,334.88
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 23.13 (-0.18%) to
S&P 500 down 4.81 (-0.34%) to 1,414.64
Nasdaq Composite Index down 15.90 (-0.53%) to 2,976.26
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.05%
Hang Seng Index up 0.71%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 4.32%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.13%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 54.22 to 12,468.16
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 3.61 to 4,960.18
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 19.21 to 7,938.29
(+) FUBC, (+3.2%) Authorizes stock buyback of up to 1.7 million
shares - equal to 5% of its currently outstanding shares.
(+) ALU, (+11.2%) Inks $2.1 billion debt financing deal with
Credit Suisse ( CS )
and Goldman Sachs ( GS ), allowing the
communications equipment company to move forward with its
(+) NIHD, (+7%) Board Chairman Steven Shinder named interim CEO,
replacing Steven Dussek, who stepped down to pursue other
(+) ALXA, (+9.9%) European health regulators recommend approval
of the company's Adasuve drug candidate to control agitation in
adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
(-) SLB, (-61.%) Expects earnings per share to fall by 5 to 7
cents in the fourth quarter because of contractual delays in
Europe, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States and
weaker- than-expected onshore U.S. and Western Canadian
(-) PAY, (-3.5%) Q4 earnings of $0.76 a share were in-line with
forecasts but revenue of $489 million comeS up $6.2 million short.
Sees Q1 EPS of $0.70 to $0.73, trailing the Street view by at least
$0.02. Guides FY13 earnings, revenue in-line with analysts.
(-) ZQK, (-15%) Q4 earnings of $0.07 a share miss by $0.02.
Sales rise 2.5% year over year to $558.97, also trailing the
analyst consensus by $7.18 million.
(-) BBY, (-15%, closer to year lows) Company extends deadfline
for former CEO and company founder Dick Schultze to make a bid for
the consumer electronics retailer.
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