Stocks are higher in mid-day trading while Wall Street bounces
back after the release of economic data that suggested continued
improvement in the domestic economy.
In the latest economic data, the Empire State manufacturing
index posted a surprising gain, rising to its highest level in
seven months, according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The
Empire state index rose to 9.5 in December from 0.6 in November.
The index had been at or below zero since June. Economists polled
by MarketWatch expected the index to rise to 3.0 in December.
However, U.S. industrial production unexpectedly dropped in
November for the first time in seven months. Capacity utilization
for total industry also decreased to 77.8 percent, a rate 2.0
percentage points above its level from a year earlier but 2.6
percentage points below its long-run (1972-2010) average, according
Output at factories, mines and utilities declined 0.2 percent
after a 0.7 percent gain in October. Economists forecast a 0.1
percent advance, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg
Meanwhile, U.S. wholesale costs climbed 0.3% in November as the
price of food increased, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.1% rise. The
core intermediate index, an indicator of future inflation, fell
0.4% in November.
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits
fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000, their lowest level
since May 2008.
Also on the data front, The Philadelphia Fed said its index of
general business activity within the factory sector rose to 10.3 in
December from 3.6 in November. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones
Newswires expected the December index to rise to just 5.0.
In company news:
Enforcement staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission may
request the commissioners leading the agency that they appeal last
month's rejection by a U.S. district judge of a proposed $285
million settlement with Citigroup (
), the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the
) shares are higher while Bloomberg reports that the company has
now settled about half of the pending lawsuits over Prempro, its
menopause drug. The company has also increased the amount of funds
set aside to resolve the cases, the report said.
Coca-Cola Enterprises (
) affirmed earnings per share guidance for full-year 2011 in a
range of $2.14 to $2.18 with results expected at the higher end of
the range. Also, the company expects to achieve 2012 earnings per
diluted common share growth in a range of 10 percent to 12 percent
on a comparable and currency neutral basis.
) is higher after Bloomberg reports the company has said it's "not
the time" to talk about raising its joint HK$15.3 billion ($2
billion) for China Gas Holdings, even though China Gas rejected the
offer yesterday for failing to reflect the company's fundamental
value. According to the report, analysts believe the rejection
could open the door to a rival bidder, and then Sinopec would be
forced to reconsider its price.
Arch Coal (
) today announced that it was the successful bidder for the South
Hilight tract, a federal coal lease in the southern Powder River
Basin, which encompasses parts of Wyoming and Montana. It contains
an estimated 222 million tons of minable coal reserves in Campbell
Commodities are lower as February gold contracts are down $12.50
to $1,574 an ounce while January crude oil contracts are down $0.73
to $94.22 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.82%
to $36.36 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.14%, to $6.90.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.04%
to $152.83. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.01% to
$51.85. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.39% to $28.18.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE up 47.16 (0.66%) to 7,231.91
-DJIA up 99.22 (0.84%) to 11,922.70
-S&P 500 up 9.75 (0.80%) to 1,221.57
-Nasdaq up 9.09 (0.36%) to 2,548.40
Nikkei down 1.67%
Hang Seng down 1.78%
Shanghai Composite down 2.14%
FTSE-100 up 0.63%
DAX-30 up 0.98%.
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy up 0.7% at 11,848.28
NYSE Financial up 0.9% at 3,933.85
NYSE Health Care up 1.7% at 6,839.78
NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.3% at 1,057.46
(+) NVLS, +21.4% Sold to Lam Research for $3.3 Bln
(+) FDX, +7.3% Q2 EPS Beat, Revenue Meets, Guidance Straddles
(+) RAD, +5.3% Q3 Loss is Better Than Street Estimate
(+) SONO, +26.8% to be Bought by Fujifilm for $54 Per Share
(+) VRTX, +2.5% Appoints New CEO
(+) VECO, +3.1% Initiated with a Sell at Maxim
(+) AIXG, +3.0% Initiated with a Sell at Maxim
(+) SWKS, +2.8% Upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
(-) APKT, -3.9% Initiated with a Neutral at JP Morgan
(-) DECK, -9.8% Downgraded to Underperform from Buy at Sterne