Mid-Day Update: Stocks Surge on Deal, Earnings News; Economic Data Absent

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 60.85 (+0.73%) to 8,349.35

-DJIA up 86.09 (+0.71%) to 12,178.24

-S&P 500 up 10.55 (+0.8%) to 1,321.42

-Nasdaq up 23.48 (+0.85%) to 2,792.76

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng down 1.49%

Nikkei up 0.46%

FTSE up 0.89%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 0.78% at 13,586.96

NYSE Financial up 1.03% at 5,276.26

NYSE Health Care up 0.28% at 6,635.82

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 1% at 1,162.41

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) BMY (+1.3%) upgraded.

(+) K (+0.4%) upgraded.

(+) DEPO (+0.5%) reports positive results in Parkinson's trial.

(+) NOK (+0.5%) reacting to weekend reports of board shake-up.

(+) DD (+2.0%) gets favorable Barron's coverage.

(+) EPCT (+17.3%) jumps on positive trial results.

(+) CHK (+5.9%) planning to sell gas assets.

(+) BEC (+9.7%) sold for $83.50 a share.

(+) HAS (+1.9%) says profit falls vs year-ago quarter.

(+) AZN (+0.3) halts prostrate cancer drug trial.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) AET (-0.03%) upgraded.

(-) AOL (-1.4%) buys Huffington Post.

(-) NVDA (-2.9%) downgraded.

(-) YONG (-5.1%) downgrade.

(-) SPLS (-0.8%) removed from Goldman's Conviction Buy list.

(-) SYY (-6.2%) says earnings decline vs year-ago quarter.

(-) MRK (-0.03) shifts between narrow gains and losses; downgraded.

(-) SAFM (-0.9) downgraded.

(-) QCOR (-6.2%) is subject of critical Barron's article.

(-) HUM (-1.5%) reports decline in profit; raises FY EPS view though still below Street.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are higher across-the-board as investors cheer deal news and corporate earnings to start the week. The Street was also breathing a measured sigh of relief as Egypt, which is still embroiled in broad protests, sees some economic activity return there.

The U.S. data calendar for Monday is light with only consumer-credit data for December due at 3 p.m. ET, usually not a market-moving report.

In earnings news:

--Hasbro Inc. ( HAS ) reports Q4 EPS of $0.99 compared to $1.09 a year earlier but topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.92. Net revenues of $1.28 billion compare to $1.38 billion a year ago.

--Loews ( L ) shares are higher after the company said net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $466 million, or $1.12 a share, compared to net income of $403 million, or 94 cents a share, in the 2009 fourth quarter.

In deal news:

Genzyme Corp. ( GENZ ) is higher after the U.S. biotech group said it is in the final stretch to be bought by France's Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY ) for roughly $20 billion. A final deal could be announced within days, according to various media reports.

Shares of AOL ( AOL ) are higher after the company said it is set to acquire The Huffington Post, a popular news Web site, for $315 million, made up of $300 in cash and the rest in stock. The deal is AOL's biggest since splitting from Time Warner in 2009.

Class B shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) are higher as Bloomberg reports the firm won the backing of Wesco Financial (WSC) to buy the 19.9% of stock it doesn't already own. The deal reportedly puts a value on Wesco of $547.6 million. Berkshire has controlled Wesco for more than 25 years.

In company news:

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ADRs are higher after the drugmaker said it would pay more than $250 million to settle about 5,500 claims related to its Avandia diabetes drug, Bloomberg reports. The settlement has Glaxo settling the cases for an average of $46,000 each.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) are higher after the company's television device was the topic of this week's Barron's Technology Trader column. Gene Munster, who follows Apple for Piper Jaffray, has for quite some time now been speculating that Apple will offer a television set as its next "Insanely Great and Magical" gadget, the column notes.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) is up after it announced its intention to sell all of its Fayetteville Shale assets, as well as its equity investments in Frac Tech Holdings, LLC and Chaparral Energy, Inc. Chesapeake anticipates the combined pre-tax proceeds could exceed $5 billion.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) and WestJet Airlines (WJA) have announced that they have entered into an interline agreement, effective immediately, that allows customers of both airlines to purchase connecting flights on one ticket, Reuters reported.

Shares of Sprint (S) are higher as Bloomberg reports that the wireless carrier will reportedly add a smartphone from Kyocera to its product lineup. The device, called Echo, will run Google's (GOOG) Android software.

ADRs of Banco Santander (STD) are just higher as Bloomberg reports the it made a bid to acquire Polish lender Bank Zachodni, which it bought a majority stake in last year from Allied Irish Banks. Santander's bid comes to $5.8 billion for 100% of Zachodni shares.

BP Plc (BP) is higher after the oil giant reportedly entered into talks with India's Reliance Industries to buy a 30% to 45% stake in the D6 hydrocarbon block in a basin off India's east coast, according to India-based The Mint newspaper.

Chevron (CVX) shares are higher as the oil major plans to pay Atlas Energy (ATLS) an additional 10 cents a share to settle litigation when its $3.59 billion acquisition is completed, Bloomberg reports. The settlement comes in response to Atlas shareholder lawsuits that claim company directors violated fiduciary duties by agreeing to an inadequate merger price.

Commodities are mixed. April gold contracts are up $2, or 0.13%, to $1,351 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are down 0.49%, or $0.44., at $88.60 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.56% to $37.13 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 3.39% to $5.66.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.01% to $131.67. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.96% to $56.65. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.7% to $28.59.



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: AOL , GENZ , HAS , L , SNY

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