Mid-Day Update: Stocks Retreat From Prior Week's Rally; Gold Hits Record $1,400 Per Ounce

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 33.24 (-0.42%) to 7,768.03

-DJIA down 45.72 (-0.40%) to 11,398.36

-S&P 500 down 3.92 (-0.32%) to 1,221.93

-Nasdaq down 0.13 (-0.01%) to 2,578.81

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng up 0.35%

Nikkei up 1.11%

FTSE down 0.43%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 0.30% at 11,807.16

NYSE Financial down 0.69% at 4,947.19

NYSE Health Care down 0.38% at 6,49..69

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.22% at 1,050.39

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) INTC (+1.0%) upgraded.

(+) YHOO (+1.2%) is subject of WSJ article saying AOL interested in at least a tie-up.

(+) CNIT (+0.5%) reports improved quarter.

(+) IDT (+12%) announces dividend, spin-off plans, stock exchange offer.

(+) SOLR (+7.6%) sets buyback.

(+) SVNT (+3.8%) upgraded.

(+) ATHX (+6.2%) gets FDA OK for Phase 2 trial of MultiStem.

(+) ANR (+7.9%) gets favorable Barron's coverage.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-,+) MCD (0.0%) choppy trade; sales October same-store sales up 6.5%.

(-) DISH (-2.8%) downgraded.

(-) SIGA (-9.6%) to appeal SBA decision.

(-) IRE (-0.8%) continues sharp slide amid debt, austerity concerns in Ireland.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are lower at mid-day as investors retreat after Friday's Federal Reserve-induced rally. Last week, the Fed announced it would purchase up to $600 billion in U.S Treasuries in an effort to boost the economy. In the wake of six consecutive positive sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is moderately lower while gold futures hit a record $1,400 an ounce this morning.

The move by the Federal Reserve received some criticism from officials at several major economies because of concerns about trade imbalances, which could be a sticking point at this week's meeting of the G-20 nations in South Korea.

No major economic news is due out on today.

In company news, an experimental pill for rheumatoid arthritis developed by Pfizer ( PFE ) cut pain and inflammation in 71% of patients in a study. The results could help the drug maker supplant injectable drugs with $12 billion in annual sales, Bloomberg reported. The treatment reduced inflammation by 20% or more for patients after six months, the report said.

Morgan Stanley ( MS ) will buy the remaining stake in a joint venture with Citigroup's ( C ) Smith Barney on dates set in the original deal, Bloomberg reported, citing CEO James Gorman. Morgan Stanley has flexibility in how fast it will increase its 51% sake in the joint venture, the report says.

Republic Airways ( RJET ) says it will sell 12 million shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering. In addition, the company intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of shares sold.

Eli Lilly ( LLY ) shares are just higher after the company said it would buy privately-held Avid Radiopharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $300 million and up to $500 million in additional payments contingent upon potential future regulatory and commercial milestones, according to a statement. With the purchase, Eli Lilly gets access to compunds Avid is developing that detect and monitor chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Amazon.com ( AMZN ) is trading higher after it said this morning it is buying privately held Quidsi, the owner of Diapers.com and Soap.com. Amazon is paying $500 million in cash and assuming $45 million in debt to expand its online retail empire, but said Quidsi will continue to operate independently. The acquisition is expected to close in December.

Google ( GOOG ) and Dell ( DELL ) are planning to move ahead with more acquisitions, which will likely keep M&A active in the sector, Bloomberg reported. Google will probably buy more companies about the size of YouTube and DoubleClick while Dell will make more purchases in its push to double the size of its data-center business to $30 billion in revenue, the report said.

McDonald's Corp. ( MCD ) is down despite reporting that global sales at stores opened at least a year grew by 6.5%, topping its previous forecast for 5% to 6% sales growth. Domestically, sales rose 5.6%.

The commission appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the BP ( BP ) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico found no evidence thus far that employees put profits before safety, Bloomberg reported citing comments from Chief Counsel Fred Bartlit. Critics have said that BP cut corners in order to reduce costs, the report noted. "We have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars to safety," Bartlit said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Harris Corp. ( HRS ) is lower after announcing this morning that it will buy a communications services business from Schlumberger Ltd. ( SLB ) for $397.5 million in cash. The business unit, Global Connectivity Services, is expected to have pretax earnings of $41 million on revenue of $170 million in 2010, the company said.

JDS Uniphase ( JDSU ) is up after Barron's says the company is well positioned to benefit from the Internet. Barron's noted improving results and demand for optical products as people want more high-speed Internet access.

In the latest earnings news:

--Uranium Resources ( URRE ) is up after it says Q3 net loss was $0.04 per share, flat from a year ago.

--Sysco Corp. ( SYY ) is down after the food service distributor reported first quarter profit in line, but revenue short of estimates. The company posted a profit of $299.1 million, or 51 cents a share, down from $326.2 million, or 55 cents a share a year ago. Revenue rose 7.4% to $9.75 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $9.55 billion.

--Comverge ( COMV ) said Q3 sales were $51.7 million, below the Thomson Reuters mean for $56.4 million. Non-GAAP EPS was a penny per share, a penny below estimates. It sees FY sales between $118 to $125 million, below forecasts for $134.63 million.

--ShengdaTech ( SDTH ) says Q3 net sales from continuing operations were $34.4 million, more than the Thomson Reuters mean for $31.8 million. Net income was $0.13 per share, a penny above estimates. FY sales are seen between $123.0 million to $126.0 million, below estimates for $128.9 million.

Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are up $2, or 0.18%, to a record high of $1,400 an ounce, while December crude contacts are down 0.22%, or $0.19, at $86.66 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 0.58% to $37.43 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is up 3.18% to $5.84.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is up 0.32% to $136.81. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is up 1.41% to $60.94. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 2.14% to $26.76.



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


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