Mid-Day Update: Stocks Pull Back from Yesterday's Surge; Construction, Manufacturing Grow

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Stocks are pulling back from a strong prior-session as weekly jobless claims increase more than expected. Still another gauge released this morning showed manufacturing activity increased last month.

The Institute for Supply Management said the manufacturing index rose 52.7% in November from 50.8% the month before. A survey by MarketWatch had pegged the data at 52%.

Also this morning, spending on construction projects in the U.S. rose 0.8% in October, putting the seasonally adjusted rate at $798.5 billion. That was above analysts' expectations of a 0.3% gains.

In the latest weekly employment data, new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch has expected new requests for jobless benefits to total 393,000 in the week ended Nov. 26. Claims in the prior week were revised up to 396,000 from an original reading of 393,000.

The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, increased by 500 to 395,750. Continuing claims climbed by 35,000, to 3.74 million and a total of 7.01 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Nov 12.

In mid-day company news:

Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI ) as a competitor - Ranbaxy Laboratories - said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a generic version of Pfizer's ( PFE ) Lipitor. Yesterday, Watson confirmed its anticipated launch of a generic version of Pfizer's Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug. Watson is working with Pfizer where Pfizer will manufacture and supply the drug to Watson.

BP is selling its Canadian natural gas liquids business to Plains Midstream Canada, a subsidiary of Plains All American Pipeline, for $1.67 billion, the AP reports. BP ADRs are down 1.7%.

Shares of Blackstone Group L.P.( BX ) are up 0.36% to $13.78. Blackstone and Bain Capital are reported to be preparing a bid to buy all of Yahoo! Inc. ( YHOO ) with the help of Asian partners in a deal that could value the company at about $25 billion.

Google ( GOOG ) shares are higher while Reuters reports the Internet giant is narrowing the lead of Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer browser, citing StatCounter data. Last month, Chrome's market share doubled to 25.7% while IE dropped to 40.6%.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) shares are higher while the bank announced it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of MBNA Canada's credit card portfolio, as well as certain other assets and liabilities, from Bank of America (BAC).

Commodities are lower as February gold contracts are down 0.34% to $1,744 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down 0.91% to $99.41 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.3% to $38.29 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 1.27%, to $7.97.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.56% to $1.69.18. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.66% to $60.01. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.22% to $31.93.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 44.28 (-0.59%) to 7,440.22

-DJIA down 27.47 (-0.23%) to 12,018.21

-S&P 500 down 2.96 (-0.24%) to 1,244.00

-Nasdaq up 1.90 (+0.07%) to 2,622.14

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 1.9%

Hang Seng up 5.6%

Shanghai Composite up 2.2%

FTSE-100 up 0.4%

DAX-30 down 0.7%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 0.69% at 12,440.25

NYSE Financial down 1.38% at 3,982.23

NYSE Health Care up 0.12% at 6,850.54

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.11% at 1,101.03

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) MOV (+16.8%) raises outlook.

(+) YHOO (+3.2%) said to be considering selling minority stake, buyout firms mulling bids for whole company.

(+) TEVA (+1.3%) gains despite downgrade.

(+) LCC (+7.2%) upgraded.

(+) TSPT (+16.8%) exercises option to commercialize Intermezzo.

(+) KR (+1.0%) beats with earnings, raises outlook.

(+) ARO (+2.3%) continues evening dip that followed guidance miss.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) UBS (-3.3%) shuffles risk execs.

(-) LULU (-10.7%) misses with revenue.

(-) GIL (-28.4%) misses with revs and guides for miss.

(-) KSS (-7.4%) says same-store sales down 6.2%.

(-) PIR (-2.0) raises EPS view after sales results.

(-) STX (-0.1%) upgraded.

(-) PG (-0.1%) upgraded.

(-) LTD (-0.1%) reports strong November sales, sets special dividend.

(-) M (-0.3%) November same-store sales up 4.8%



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BX , GOOG , PFE , WPI , YHOO

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