Mid-Day Update: Stocks Pare Modest Early Gains Despite Upbeat Home Sales

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 17.32 (+0.21%) to 8,253.87

-DJIA down 9.38 (-0.08%) to 12,371.88

-S&P 500 down 0.09 (-0.01%) to 1,317.19

-Nasdaq down 7.28 (-0.26%) to 2,751.72

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 0.2%

Hang Seng up 0.1%

Shanghai Composite down 0.3%

FTSE-100 up 0.5%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 7.29% at 13,346.27

NYSE Financial down 5.75% at 4,904.39

NYSE Health Care up 6.76% at 7,285.30

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 0.31% at 1,159.05

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) AZO (+6.2%) beats with Q3 results.

(+) SOLR (+3.3%) continues evening jump that followed earnings beat, raised guidance.

(+) PWRD (+8.6%) continues evening gain that followed upbeat Q1 results.

(+) EMITF (+5.1%) offers clarifying details on Bank Hapoalim-shareholder row.

(+) SIFY (+35.9%) inks new contract.

(+) SNE (+4.1%) gaining despite warning, as investors welcome clarity.

(+) NTWK (+2.1%) inks new contract.

(+) EGHT (+5.8%) inks new contract.

(+) EP (+6.8%) raises outlook, to split.

(+) TIVO (+0.01%) upgraded.

(+) AKS (+2.9%) announces price hike for carbon steel products.

(+) SAFM (+1.0%) swings to loss that beats Street view.

(+) MYL (+0.9%) upgraded.

(+) SJM (+0.8) raising coffee prices.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) INVE (-12.6%) continues evening drop that followed announced share offering.

(-) MDT (-1.8%) beats with sales but misses with EPS.

(-) CBRL (-10.1%) misses with Q3 and guides for FY miss.

(-) CTICD (-3.1%) among active decliners.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are down at mid-day as the major indexes pare most of their early gains despite better-than-expected April home sales. Earnings news provided support, while oil prices rebound and gold gains on a weaker dollar.

April new-home sales rose 7.3% compared with the previous month, to a 323,000 annual pace, but are down 21.3% year-over-year. March rose a revised 8.3% to a 301,000 level. Economists polled by Marketwatch.com expected sales at an annualized rate of 295,000 units.

GT Solar is sharply higher after it reported Q4 revenue of $271.6 million, better than the analyst consensus of $224 million on Thomson Reuters. Earnings were $0.41, vs. expectations of $0.34. The company raised its fiscal 2012 guidance for revenue to a range of $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion, up from the previously provided range of $850 million to $1.0 billion.

Based on estimated weighted average diluted shares outstanding of approximately 131 million for the full fiscal year, fully diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $1.55 to $1.85, up from the previously provided range of $1.25 to $1.50.

The company expects gross margins for fiscal year 2012 to be in the range of 42 percent to 44 percent. The Street is at $966 million in revenue and earnings of $1.45 per share.

In other company news:

Marathon Oil ( MRO ) firms after it says the Internal Revenue Service provided a favorable private letter ruling confirming the tax-free status of the planned spin-off of the company's downstream business.

The distribution of MPC common stock and certain related transactions generally will not be taxable to MRO or U.S. holders of MRO common stock, except in respect to cash received in lieu of fractional share interests, which generally will be taxable to such holders as capital gain, it said.

Shares of H&R Block ( HRB ) are higher, after the US Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block its proposed acquisition of 2SS Holdings, the Iowa-based developer of TaxACT digital tax preparation solutions. "The Department of Justice today made a determination to stifle smart business growth," said William C. Cobb, H&R Block's president and CEO.

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp. ( IART ) is higher after announcing it had acquired privately held SeaSpine Inc., a provider of products for the spine fusion market, for $89 million in cash. Integra expects the deal to have no immediate affect on its 2011 adjusted earnings, but will add $2 million to $3 million to second quarter revenue and about $18 million to $20 million to second-half revenue, the company said.

American International Group, ( AIG ) has been mired in the red since the open ahead of plans to sell around 300 million shares of stock worth an estimated $9 billion after the bell today. The U.S. Treasury is expected to sell 15% of its AIG stake, as the federal government continues to close out investments it made in troubled companies to stem the 2008 financial crisis. The stock is down 38% this year and is the worst-performer in the S&P 500 index, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shares of J. M. Smucker Company ( SJM ) are higher after it said it increased the list price for most of its coffee products sold in the United States, primarily consisting of items sold under the Folgers, Dunkin' Donuts, Millstone, and Folgers Gourmet Selections brand names. Prices will increase an average of 11% on impacted items. The increase in price is driven by sustained increases in green coffee costs.

ADRs of AstraZeneca (AZN) are higher as Reuters reports the drug maker, along with, Daiichi Sankyo, will co-promote Amgen's new bone cancer drug denosumab in Japan--a market that is becoming a growing focus for Western drug makers. Daiichi bought rights to denosumab from Amgen in 2007, the report noted.

Shares of Cree Inc. (CREE) are down while Reuters reports that a spokeswoman from General Electric (GE) denied that it had selected Cree to supply it with 60-watt equivalent bulbs. Cree shares had risen in early trading after Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer said GE had selected Cree to supply it with bulbs in a research note.

In other earnings news:

--Medtronic (MDT) is a gainer after it says Q4 sales were $4.295 billion, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $4.28562 billion. Non-GAAP EPS were $0.90, two cents below estimates.

--AutoZone (AZO) firms as it reports Q3 EPS of $5.29 compared to $4.12 a year earlier and topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $4.98. Sales rose to $2 billion from $1.8 billion, topping the Street view or $1.9 billion. Same-store sales rose 5.3% in the period.

Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up 0.64%, to $1,525 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are up 2.03% to $99.68 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.03% to $39.25 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.36%, to $11.09.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.5% at $148.57. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.54% to $56.20. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 2.86% to $35.25.



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: AIG , HRB , IART , MRO , SJM

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