Mid-Day Update: Stocks Trading Higher as Initial Bearish Mood Subsides; Earnings In Focus

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Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 0.53 (+0.53%) to 8,148.71

-DJIA up 81.59 (+0.69%) to 11,953.43

-S&P 500 up 6.10 (+0.48%) to 1,289.42

-Nasdaq up 22.33 (+0.83%) to 2,711.89

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng down 0.31%

Nikkei up 0.69%

FTSE up 0.81%

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 0.4% at 13,009.03

NYSE Financial up 0.12% at 5,153.22

NYSE Health Care up 0.38% at 6,592.41

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.54% at 1,109.89

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) GXDX (+25.8%) sold to Novartis for $25 per share.

(+) CLDA (+57%) gets FDA approval for depressive disorder treatment.

(+) BCON (+1.8%) begins commercial operations in New York.

(+) HAL (+1.3) beats with Q4 results.

(+) CAB (+9.1%) upgraded.

(+) FSLR (+3.9%) added to Goldman's Conviction Buy list.

(+) CYTX (+3.4%) says study shows fat grafts didn't increase breast cancer risk.

(+) HOLX (+1.0%) initiated at Outperform.

(+) NVDA (+10.4%) gets favorable Barron's coverage.

(+) MCD (+0.2%) reports in-line earnings.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SLE (-0.5%) gains as Bloomberg report says Apollo-led offer tops share price.

(-) RSH (-11.3%) warns for earnings, sales.

(-) OVTI (-6.4%) downgraded.

(-) WWE (-8.8%) misses with earnings.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks are trading broadly higher at mid-day as investor's gear up for a spate of earnings news after McDonalds' ( MCD ) report this morning, which matched the Street's expectations. With no economic data due today, investors will be eying results from the likes of American Express ( AXP ) and Texas Instruments ( TXN ), both of which are due to report after the close.

Among companies reporting after the closing bell:

--American Express is higher, with the company due with Q4 results in today's after-hours. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report a profit of $0.97 per share on revenue of $7.29 billion.

--Texas Instruments is higher with the chip maker due with its Q4 results after the bell tonight. Wall Street is targeting a profit of $0.63 per share on revenue of $3.50 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

In other company news:

Assurant ( AIZ ) said its earnings from the fourth quarter were reduced by $306.4 million because the a combination of the health care law and the economy reduced the value of units providing medical coverage, Bloomberg reported. Assurant is focusing on insuring foreclosed properties and electronics as regulations weigh down profits from providing health care coverage.

Intel ( INTC ) announced today that it will raise its dividend by 15% and will authorize its share buyback program by another $100 billion. INTC has declared a quarterly dividend of $18.12 per share.

Shares of Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) are rising in morning trade following news the food products company received a takeover bid from Apollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital that is higher than the food company's current share price of $18.70, three people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Also, CVS Caremark (CVS) announced that it will appoint Larry Merlo as new CEO when current CEO Thomas M. Ryan retires on March 1, 2011. Merlo is currently the president and chief operating officer, while Ryan will remain chairman of the board until he retires in May. David Dorman, who has been director since 2006, will then be appointed to that position.

ADRs of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis SA (SNY) are higher after news that it has extended its offer for Genzyme Corp. (GENZ) until Feb. 15. The offer was previously scheduled to expire on Jan. 21. All other terms and conditions of the offer remain unchanged, Sanofi-Aventis said in a statement. Sanofi-Aventis is offering $69 a share in cash.

Sony Corp. (SNE) is poised to start its own music streaming service with major record labels in the U.S. this quarter. The move will challenge Apple Inc.'s (APPL) iTunes, according to reports. The company began its service dubbed "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" in Sept. in the U.K. and Ireland in Dec. It will be available in other European countries this weekend. Music Unlimited has more than 6 million songs available on Playstation 3 game console, Blu-ray Disc player, Bravia televisions, PCs and on smartphones using Google Inc's Android operating systems.

Shares of Citigroup (C) are flat as the bank said in a late-afternoon statement Friday that its Board of Directors is hiking the base pay for CEO Vikram Pandit to $1.75 million from $1. Pandit has received a symbolic salary of $1 a year, which Pandit had vowed to keep until his firm returned to profitability, note the New York Times. "The board is very pleased with the progress that the company has made under Vikram’s leadership," the report quotes Richard Parsons, chairman of the board of Citigroup, as saying.

Willbros Group (WG) shares are sharply higher after it says a unit of its Upstream Oil & Gas segment has been awarded the construction contract for a portion of the Acadian Haynesville Extension Project. The 270-mile project, which expands the existing Acadian Gas Pipeline System, will originate in Red River Parish, LA, southeast of Shreveport, and will terminate near Donaldsonville, LA. Construction on Segment 1 is expected to begin in February with completion in August.

Shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) are just lower following an announcement late Friday that Facebook offering it was running raised $1.5 billion. The offering suggests a $50 billion value for the company.

In the latest earnings reports:

--McDonald's Corporation ( MCD ) slips after it reports Q4 EPS of $1.16, up 5% from the year-ago period and meeting the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate. Revenue of $6.21 billion compares to $5.97 billion a year earlier. The Street looked for $6.2 billion.

--RadioShack (RSH) drops sharply after it reports preliminary Q4 sales were about $1.37 billion, ahead of the analyst consensus of $1.36 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS are seen in the range of $0.50 to $0.54 per share, vs. Street estimates of $0.66 per share.

--Halliburton (HAL) reports Q4 earnings of $0.68 per share, a nickel better than the analyst consensus on Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $5.2 billion, vs. expectations of $4.87 billion.

Commodities are mixed. February gold contracts--still the most active--are up $3.50, or 0.26%, to $1,345 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are down 1.21%, or $1.09, at $88.02 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.79% to $36.84 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.55% to $6.36.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.19% to $131.28. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.5% to $54.22. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.78% to $26.62.



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: AIZ , AXP , INTC , MCD , TXN

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