Stocks are down at mid-day as hope faded that banks would use
the European Central Bank's massive funding operation to buy
regional sovereign debt and help mend the deep-rooted debt
The ECB said 523 banks requested 489 billion euro ($641 billion)
in the central bank's long-term funding operation. A consensus of
analysts polled by Reuters called for funding of 310 billion euros.
It's the first three-year financing operation by the European
Central Bank to regional lenders. Banks look to increase liquidity
amid the sovereign-debt crisis.
Elsewhere, Middle East stocks traded mixed Wednesday. Qatar's
average gained in part as upbeat U.S. housing data the day before
lifted global investor willingness for risk-taking. Oil prices were
higher, supporting stocks.
In data out today, existing home sales in the U.S. rose 4.0%
month-over-month in November to 4.42 million annualized units.
In company news:
Shares of KB Home (
) are higher after the company reports Q4 revenue of $479.9 mln, up
from $451 mln a year ago. Earnings were $0.18, vs. $0.23 per share
last year. At November 30, the company had 2,156 homes in backlog,
up from 1,336 homes in backlog at November 30, 2010. The company's
projected future housing revenues in backlog increased 74% to
approximately $459.0 million at November 30, from approximately
$263.8 million at November 30, 2010.
) inked deals with two Asian firms a day after getting a double
setback for two of its key assets. AZN said it had signed a deal to
develop a cancer treatment from Hutchison China MediTech. The
company also purchased options on a potential class of diabetes
drugs from Astellas Pharma.
) is set to take the second spot behind McDonald's (
) in sales, which are expected to be $8.42 billion, ahead of Burger
King, according to research done by Technomic and reported by the
Orlando Business Journal. That makes it second behind McDonald's,
the report says.
Research In Motion (
) is higher following a Wall Street Journal report that Microsoft
(MSFT) and Nokia (NOK) in recent months considered making a joint
bid for RIMM. The status of the talks is unclear, according to the
Oracle (ORCL) said on its conference call it expects Q3 revenue
growth in the range of 3% to 7% in constant currency and between 1%
and 5% in U.S. dollars. Non-GAAP EPS is seen in the range of $0.56
to $0.59 in constant currency and between $0.55 and $0.58 in U.S.
dollars. The Street view is 7% revenue growth and EPS of $0.58 per
Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) are just higher, while the oil
firm said the Bohai Bay Compensation Fund will provide compensation
for any damages caused by the June 2011 accidents that occurred at
the Peng Lai 19-3 field in Bohai Bay. The fund will be
independently administered and will provide compensation to
affected people, communities and industries near Bohai Bay.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) is close to settling a U.S. Justice
Department probe into whether its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit
violated fair-lending practices, said two people with knowledge of
the discussions told Bloomberg News.
Commodities are mixed as February gold contracts are down $5.40
to $1,612 an ounce while January crude oil contracts are up $1.18
to $98.42 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.99% to
$37.90 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.73%, to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.17%
to $156.72. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.79% to
$52.73. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.73% to $28.55.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-Dow Jones Industrial down 0.69%
-S&P 500 down 0.76%
-Nasdaq 100 down 0.14%
Nikkei up 1.48%
Hang Seng up 1.86%
Shanghai Composite down 1.12%
FTSE-100 down 0.55%
DAX-30 down 0.95%
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy down 0.26% at 12,070.34
NYSE Financial down 0.75% at 3,964.97
NYSE Health Care down 0.08% at 6,927.76
NYSE Arca Tech 100 down 2.85% at 1,046.94
(+)RIMM, (+10.1%) Upgraded to Buy from Hold at ThinkEquity,
reportedly the subject of M&A interest at Microsoft and
(+)DFG, (+73%) Soars on Acquisition by Tokio Marine
(+)LYG, (+4.2%) Upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at
Exande BNP Paribas
(-)ORCL, (-13.5%) Downgraded to Underperform from Buy at Credit
Agricole after disappointing results, guidance.
(-)SAP, (-7.6%) Tracking Oracle Lower After Disappointing
(-)JPM, (-0.7%) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne
(-)KMX, (-6.9%) Reports Q3 EPS Miss, Revs In Line
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