Stocks are broadly higher today, with U.S. equities rising
following strong advances in the European and Asian markets along
with an optimistic start last night to the company earnings
reporting period. Several economic reports released today are
mildly supportive as well.
Shares of Alcoa Inc (
) -- traditionally the first of the S&P 500 companies to report
its quarterly results -- are up about 1% at mid-day after the
aluminum producer last night reported an $0.18 per share Q4 loss
from continuing operations, largely in line with recently revised
Street forecasts. The $6 billion in revenues at Alcoa during the
quarter topped estimates.
In economic indicators released today, small-business optimism
rose in December for the fourth consecutive month, according to the
National Federation of Independent Business in its monthly survey.
Optimism rose 1.8 points, settling at 93.8 last month and
representing a 5.7-point gain since September. Despite the extended
advance, the industry group cautioned that the total reading
remains in recession territory.
Also, inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose 0.1% in November,
following a revised 1.2% gain in October, the Commerce Department
reported today. Economists had projected a 0.5% rise, according to
the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Sales climbed 0.6%
in November, the agency said.
There were 3.2 million job openings on the last business day of
November, unchanged from the end of October, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate was 3.2% and the
separations rate was 3.0%, also little changed over the month
although the job openings rate has trended upward since the end of
the recession in June 2009.
In company news:
Yum! Brands (
) has hit new year highs today amid reports the company is set to
expand its KFC outlets into seven more countries across Africa in
2012 and add 100 stores on the continent. Pizza Hut, another Yum
brand, expects to enter South Africa this year or next, according
to the MarketWatchreport.
Life Technologies (
) is picking up considerable support day, with shares rising after
unveiling its Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer at the Consumer
Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The new device is designed to
decode a human genome in one day for $1,000.
Commodities are higher. February gold contracts are up $31.50 to
$1639.60 an ounce, while February crude oil contracts are ahead
$1.56 to $102.85 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (
) is down 1.1% to $39.50 and the United States Natural Gas fund (
) is down nearly 2% at $6.40.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.7% to
$159.24. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 2.2% to $54.83.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up almost 4% at $29.25.
Here's where markets stand at mid-day:
-NYSE up 90.31 (+1.19%) to 7,674.97
-DJIA up 102.78 (+0.83%) to 12,495.47
-S&P 500 up 13.80 (+1.08%) to 1,294.50
-Nasdaq up 29.62 (+1.11%) to 2,706.18
Nikkei up 0.4%.
Hang Seng up 0.7%.
Shanghai Composite up 2.7%.
FTSE-100 up 1.7%.
MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH
NYSE Energy up 1.18% at 12,868.25
NYSE Financial up 1.81% at 4,200.70
NYSE Health Care up 0.46% at 7,116.14
NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 1.09% at 1,110.79
(+) LULU, (+14%) Raises Q4 EPS Guidance TO $0.47-$0.49 VS
(+) REGN, (+13%) $24M-$25M Q4 Eylea sales top expectations.
(+) CRUS, (+13.5%) Q3 revenues $122M vs. consensus $98.5M; Q4
Forecast tops Street.
(-) TIF, (-11.3%) Lowers 2012 EPS guidance to $3.60-$3.65 from
(-) WBMD , (-26.5%) Warns 2012 profit will be "significantly
lower"; Tables merger talks.
(-) LIZ, (-13.9%) CFO leaving to pursue opportunities in media
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