Mid-Day Update: Stocks Plunge on Expected Super Committee Failure; Home Sales Rise

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Stocks are broadly lower with the each of the major indexes falling over 2% at the session's half as concerns over gridlock in the congressional super committee charged with cutting the nation's deficit. Reports over the weekend indicated that the committee has not succeeded in reaching an agreement on a plan to trim the U.S. budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

An announcement is expected toward the end of the day today, noted Bloomberg in a report, which sets the stage for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts.

Meanwhile, sales of previously-owned homes rose 1.4% last month to a 4.97 million rate, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. That was more than the 4.8 million rate estimated in a Bloomberg survey.


In the European theater, Moody's Investors Service said this morning that rising French government borrowing costs and an uncertain economic outlook continue to pose a threat to the outlook for France's AAA credit rating, Moody's Investors Service said Monday, according to several news reports. Meanwhile, Moody's said it agreed with a recently published stability report from the Bundesbank that said risks for the German financial system have significantly increased owing to banks' exposure to troubled euro-zone economies.

In mid-day company news:

Pharmasset ( VRUS ) shares are surging after Gilead Sciences ( GILD ) agreed it would acquire the company for $10.4 billion. The move is seen accelerating the development of treatments for hepatitis C.

EBay ( EBAY ) shares are down after the company announced that it will acquire online platform Hunch.com, for an undisclosed sum. The company said that it will integrate Hunch's patented prediction technology and machine learning, data mining and predictive modeling, which determines consumers' "tastes" and recommend topics for them, into EBAY's shopping and selling experience.

Shares of Jefferies Group ( JEF ) are near the flat line as The Wall Street Journal reports the investment make cut its exposure to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Greece by another 50%. The moves comes as JEF looks to rebut worries about its exposure to troubled European countries amid the debt crisis hitting the continent.

Target ( TGT ) shares are down while the retailer joined McDonald's (MCD) in dropping one of the nation's largest egg suppliers in the wake of the release of a video from an animal rights group showing cases of animal cruelty.

Bayer AG (BAYRY) ADRs are lower while Bloomberg reports the German drug maker may improperly market the Yasmin family of birth-control pills for unapproved uses. Citing company emails provide to attorneys for women suing the drug maker, the report also says Bayer may have misled women concerning health risks associated with the drug.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) are lower as the firms were sued by two pension funds over alleged misleading statements connected to exposure to MF Global Holdings, according to a Bloomberg report.

ADRs of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) are down while the The Wall Street Journal reports the refiner could replace Exxon Mobil (XOM) as the developer of Iraq's large West Qurna Phase 1 oil field if the government terminates Exxon over a recent deal to explore for oil in the Kurdish region of that country.

Sears Holding Corp. (SHLD) shares are down after Goldman Sachs (GS) lowered its price target to $43.00 a share. They have a Sell rating on the company.

Commodities are down as January gold contracts are down 2.16% to $1,688 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down 1.53% to $96.19 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 2.06% to $37.04 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.08%, to $7.85.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 2.18% to $163.97. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 3.26% to $55.22. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 4.14% to $30.08.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 193.52 (-2.66%) to 7,088.95

-DJIA down 297.44 (-2.52%) to 11,498.72

-S&P 500 down 27.43 (-2.26%) to 1,188.21

-Nasdaq down 61.04 (-2.37%) to 2,511.24

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.3%

Hang Seng down 1.4%

Shanghai Composite down 0.1%

FTSE-100 down 2%

DAX-30 down 2.5%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 3.0% at 11,783.21

NYSE Financial down 2.77% at 3,805.20

NYSE Health Care down 1.81% at 6,544.68

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 2.54% at 1,052.19

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) INHX (+22.8%) gaining on further biotech sector deal hopes.

(+) GEDU (+96.3%) sold to Pearson for $11.006 per ADS.

(+) CTIC (+0.9%) gets patent allowance notice.

(+) CBE (+2.8%) added to S&P 500.

(+) CLDX (+1.1%) reports positive data in brain cancer study.

(+) BSDM (+10.7%) gets humanitarian device expemption from FDA.

(+) REGN (+9.9%) upgraded.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) RIMM (-5.1%) downgraded.

(-) FLR (-2.2%) down despite analyst upgrade.

(-) WDC (-1.9%) loses dispute with Seagate Technology; given analyst upgrade.

(-) STX (-0.8%) slips despite award of $525 mln in WDC dispute.

(-) WAG (-4.3%) downgraded.

(-) TSN (-2.2%) earnings drop vs year ago, sales higher.

(-) PFE (-2.6%) down though gets positive regulatory step news on arthritis treatment.

(-) MUR (-2.2%) subject of mostly favorable Barron's article on share upside.



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: EBAY , GILD , JEF , TGT , VRUS

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As of 4/24/2015, 04:15 PM


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