Mid-Day Update: Stocks Mostly Higher at Session's Half; Europe Concerns Weigh

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Stocks are mostly higher - though the Nasdaq is off - at the session's half on concern that European debt talks are stalling, capping gains from data showing new home sale last month rose more than expected, although they were down year-over-year.

New home purchases increased by a greater amount than forecast in September, rising 5.7% to 313,000, according to Bloomberg, citing data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Economists had expected a gain of 300,000, according to a poll by Bloomberg.

From Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to parliament in Berlin Wednesday ahead of a vote on boosting the firepower of the 440 billion euro ($612 billion) euro-zone rescue fund known as the European Financial Stability Facility.

The German parliament is expected to back Merkel in the vote and give her a mandate to negotiate a package of measures to tackle the debt crisis at a summit of euro-zone leaders in Brussels this evening, the Wall Street Journal reported.

At the summit, leaders are expected to announce details on recapitalizing European banks, addressing Greece's debt burden and boosting the EFSF, according to news reports.

In mid-day company news:

Biogen Idec ( BIIB ) shares are higher after the company said that its BG-12 pill to treat multiple sclerosis met its treatment goals in a study. The results help to clear a path toward regulatory filings, MarketWatch noted in a report.

Shares of IBM ( IBM ) have lost their early upside after the company said late yesterday that it promoted Virginia M. Rometty as president and chief executive officer. Rometty is Big Blue's first female CEO. Also this morning, IBM said it closed completed the acquisition of Q1 Labs Inc., a privately-held company based in Waltham, Mass.

Shares of MetLife ( MET ) are down after regulators blocked the life insurance company from raising its dividend, several media outlets report. Shares are down 3.69%, or $1.24, to $31.59. The Federal Reserve had made the move citing the a more stringent stress test to be conducted in 2012, Reuters noted in a report on the matter.

ConocoPhillips ( COP ) shares are down after the U.S. oil major reported EPS excluding certain items of $2.52 compared to the Street view, usually ex items, of $2.18. While the profit beat forecast, charges from asset sale losses sunk profit 16% from a year ago, the Wall Street Journal noted.

Also, the Energy Information Administration reported that crude supplies rose 4.7 million barrels compared with analysts' call for a modest 200,000-barrel increase, according to Platts, the Energy information arm of McGraw-Hill.

Gasoline inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels and distillate inventories fell by 4.3 million barrels. Analysts were looking for gasoline stockpiles to fall 1.25 million barrels, and distillates to fall 1.5 million, according to Platt's

Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are up 1.19% to $1,721 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are down 1.75% to $91.55 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 1.48% to $35.27 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.41%, to $8.72.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1% to $167.25. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.21% to $57.57. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.34% to $32.54.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 30.11 (+0.41%) to 7,430.93

-DJIA up 45.30 (+0.39%) to 11,751.92

-S&P 500 up 1.08 (+0.09%) to 1,230.13

-Nasdaq down 11.75 (-0.45%) to 2,626.62

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.2%

Hang Seng up 0.5%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.7%.

FTSE-100 up 0.3%.

DAX-30 up 0.5%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 0.84% at 12,318.35

NYSE Financial up 0.52% at 4,145.13

NYSE Health Care up 0.4% at 6,742.88

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.13% at 1,097.71

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) FFIV (+14%) continues evening gain that followed earnings, buyback news.

(+) BA (+4.6%) beats with earnings, raises guidance.

(+) GLW (+6.9%) beats with earnings.

(+) FSLR (+13.2%) rebounds slightly from Tuesday plunge; earnings, guidance miss.

(+) COP (+0.5%) gains after earnings.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) NOK (-0.6%) unveils first Windows Phone smartphones.

(-) AMZN (-11.7%) warns on revenue.

(-) S (-7.8%) issues mixed earnings, subscription numbers.

(-) F (-5.3%) reports mostly positive results.

(-) MET (-1.6%) downgraded.

(-) BRCM (-2.3%) continues evening drop that followed earnings beat but revenue warning.

(-) HGSI (-1.8%) downgraded.

(-) NOC (-1.8%) sales miss, raises guidance.

(-) CHRW (-8.9%) downgraded.



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: BIIB , COP , IBM , MET , USO

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