Mid-Day Update: Stocks Slide as Greek Debt Talks Extend Past Weekend Without Deal

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Stocks are lower today, retreating after European and Greek leaders this weekend were still unable to strike a deal to avoid a default. Commodities also are lower today.

European finance and political leaders have yet to find the right mixture of encouragement and threats to avert a Greek default and possible exit from the European Union. Greek political leaders pushed back a meeting intended to finalize a decision on austerity moves until tomorrow. The delay reportedly has political authorities such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel growing increasingly exasperated.

There has been no economic news in the United States today to move equities, leaving the lingering Euro-zone debt woes to dominate trader attitudes.


Most S&P industry groups are lower today with only energy and consumer staple companies managing to eke out small gains. Hardest hit today financial shares, down nearly 0.8% at mid-day, along with material stocks.

In company news, shares of Humana ( HUM ) are down nearly 6% today after raising its 2012 EPS forecast to a new range between $7.50 to $7.70 a share -- marking a 10-cent bump from previous guidance. The Street, however, is at $7.99 a share. HUM's Q4 earnings were in-line with expectations.

Also today, SureWest Communications ( SURW ) is sharply higher, gaining over 40% after accepting a $340.9 a share buyout offer from Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. ( CNSL ). The $23.00-per-share cash and stock offer represents a 47% premium over SURW's closing prices on Friday.

Commodities are mostly lower today. Gold for March delivery is down about 0.8%, slipping $14.30 to $1,724.60 an ounce. Crude oil also is lower, with the March contrct falling 54 cents to $97.30 a barrel after earlier trading as low as $96.38 a barrel. Brent futures, however, have turned around in late morning trade and are now ahead 80 cents at $115.38.

Among precious metal ETFs, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF is up 0.57% at $56.76 while the SPDR Gold Trust is down 0.03% at $167.59. The iShares Silver Trust is up 0.12% to $32.73.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund is down 0.53% at $37.39. The United States Natural Gas Fund also is 0.58% lower at $5.30.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 27.10 (0.34%) to 8,033.33.

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 42.91 (0.33%) to 12,819.32.

S&P 500 down 3.42 (0.25%) to 1,341.48.

NASDAQ Composite down 7.74 (0.27%) to 2,897.92.

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 1.10%.

Hang Seng down 0.23%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.03%.

FTSE-100 down 0.15%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy down 33.07 (0.25%) at 13,123.59.

NYSE Financial down 26.85 (0.58%) at 4,589.36.

NYSE Health Care down 14.26 (0.20%) at 7,179.97.

NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 3.54 (0.29%) at 1,212.85.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CYBI, (+98.0%) Will pay $19.5 million to settle product liability suit.

(+) TIVO, (+4.5%) Weekend Barron's article cites 'compelling' second act.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) USG, (-6.3%) Narrows net loss but still misses Street expectations.

(-) ZGNX, (-8.1%) Selling up to $75 million in new stock.



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: CNSL , HUM , SURW

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