Mid-Day Update: Stocks Sitting Lower as Europe Debt Crisis Weighs; Italian Debt Yields Spike

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Stocks have not recovered from their opening-bell drop with the three major indexes awash in red at the session's half. Europe remained the focus of investor concern with a surge on Italian bond yields sparking worries that Europe's debt crisis could be getting worse. Also, new data released this morning showed inventories at domestic wholesalers fell last month.

Tuesday's news that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had finally bowed to pressure and would resign once new austerity measures are passed helped push markets in the U.S. and Asia higher. However, sentiment quickly turned from relief to uncertainty over who will lead Italy through the debt crisis.

In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned as a new coalition government is set to take over the government in that country, led by house speaker Filippos Petsalnikos, Reuters reported.

Also this morning, new data from the Commerce Department indicated that inventories at the wholesale level fell 0.1% last month but were up 11.9% from the previous yea, MarketWatch reported. Sales to wholesalers increased 0.5% last month.

In mid-day company news:

ADRs of Total ( TOT ) are down while Bloomberg reports that the french oil major is in talks with OAO Rosneft about exploration projects, such as the Val Shatskogo venutre in the Black Sea, citing comments from CEO Christophe de Margerie.

Merck & Co ( MRK ) announced Wednesday that its hormonal contraceptive Nexplanon is now available in the United States. The 68 mg contraceptive is a etonogestrel implant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of pregnancy in women for up to three years.

Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ) shares are down as the retailer launched new applications for the iPhone and iPad designed to give its customers tools to plan their weekly shopping trips as well as a new way to access Walmart both in-store and online.

Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs ( GS ) is seeking to raise up to $1.54 billion by selling 2.4 billion shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. GS shares are down 4.9%.

Computer memory maker STEC Inc. ( STEC ) plunged after reporting mixed Q3 results, and a dismal Q4 revenue forecast. STEC reported Q3 profit plunged 65% on lower sales. The numbers still beat expectations, but the company's forecast for Q4 of no more than $57 million fell short of the average analyst estimate of $72.1 million.

Commodities are higher as December gold contracts are down 0.4% to $1,792 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are up 0.9% to $97.61 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.35% to $37.63 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 2.45%, to $8.41.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.38% to $174.19. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.48% to $62.80. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.9% to $33.69.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE down 180.99 (-2.36%) to 7,490.92

-DJIA down 232.23 (-1.91%) to 11,939.16

-S&P 500 down 27.77 (-2.21%) to 1,247.74

-Nasdaq down 62.77 (-2.3%) to 2,664.71

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 1.16 %.

Hang Seng up 1.71%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.8%.

FTSE-100 down 2.07%.

DAX-30 down 2.46%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 2.43% at 12,548.00

NYSE Financial down 3.48% at 4,109.45

NYSE Health Care down 1.79% at 6,755.72

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 2.31% at 1,115.60

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+ ) RAD, (+4.4%) upgraded

(+) SODA (+3.3%) reports improved Q3 results

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) RBCN (-4.9%) downgraded

(-) HBC (-7.8%) reports Q3 profit

(-) GM (-8.2%) Q3 earnings drop from year-ago levels

(-) RL (-6.1%) reports Q2 results

(-) ROVI (-33.8%) Q3 earnings disappoint

(-) STP (-3.6%) Q3 revenue seen above expectations

(-) M (-3.2%) reports Q3 earnings beat

(-) CEDC(-5.6%) downgraded



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: GS , MRK , STEC , TOT , WMT

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