Stocks have trimmed their opening gains following a big miss on new home sales, continuing to trade with modest gains and leaving the S&P 500 index just below its latest record high. Strong earnings from Facebook ( FB ) and Ford ( F ) ahead of the open, coupled with robust manufacturing data out of China and euro-zone countries elevated global equity prices despite lingering geo-political conflicts.
Early advances for U.S. indices were amplified by a significant decline in initial unemployment claims which pushed the S&P 500 just shy of 1,990 soon after the open. But gains were compromised after new home sales fell to a 3-month low of 406,000, much softer than the 475,000 seasonally-adjusted annual rate the Street expected.
In addition to home sales, the final Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for July was revised downward to 56.3 from an initial 57.5 reading and a 57.3 score in June. The consensus estimate had the index staying steady at 57.5.
Also today, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index jumped to a 9.0 reading from 6.0 in June, beating estimates expecting the index to remain unchanged at 6.0.
In global economic news, the IMF lowered its global growth projections for 2014 to 3.4% from 3.7% due to weak U.S. growth in the first quarter of 2014. Forecasts for 2015 are unchanged at 4.0%.
In Europe, markets were buoyed by better-than-expected manufacturing data in China and the EU. The Chinese PMI improved to 52.0 from 50.7 the month prior, while the EU-zone PMI inched up to 51.9 from 51.8. Encouraged by Wednesday's gains in the U.S., European bourses all closed in the green.
Crude oil was down $0.44 to $102.69 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.07 to $3.85 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $15.00 to $1.289.70 an ounce, while silver was down $0.44 to 20.56 an ounce. Copper was up $0.06 to $3.27 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.37% to $38.02 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.88% to $21.16. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.83% to 26.08 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.23% to $124.08. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.11% to $19.66.
Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 29.29 (+0.27%) to 11,053.19
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 8.93 (+0.05%) to 17,095.56
S&P 500 up 3.15 (+0.16%) to 1,990.16
Nasdaq Composite Index up 7.21 (+0.16%) to 4,480.91
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.29%
Hang Seng Index up 0.71%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.28%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.34%
CAC 40 up 0.78%
DAX up 0.42%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.58%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.46%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.06%
(+) LOGI (+15.75%) Beat Q1 estimates, boosted operating income outlook.
(+) FB (+7.43%) Beat earnings estimates by $0.10 and topped revenue expectations.
(+) GRUB (+5.16%) Q3 Revenue guidance above street, posts Q2 EPS miss but beats on revenue.
(+) UA (+15.72%) Beat earnings estimates by $0.01, raises outlook.
(-) ANGI (-20.40%) Reported a Q2 loss of $0.31/share vs estimates for $0.24 loss, revenue miss.
(-) TRIP (-9.12%) Misses Q2 revenue estimates.
(-) IVC (-15.30%) Posts wider Q2 loss vs estimates, beats on revenue, CEO Gerald B. Blouch to retire.
(-) CLFD (-16.09%) Reported worse-than-expected Q3 results
(-) CCMP (-6.43%) Reported EPS of $0.53 per share missing analyst estimates of $0.63 per share.