Stocks are broadly higher ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as
investors focus on weekly jobless claims that hit the lowest level
since July 2008 and an uptick in consumer sentiment, which off-set
disappointing data on new home sales and orders for durable
Also providing a lift, the University of Michigan/Reuters
consumer sentiment index rose to 71.6 in November from 67.7 in
October. That was better than the Briefing.com mean forecast for
New home sales in October fell to a near record low while the
median home price dropped to the lowest point in seven years,
according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Sales of new
single-family homes in October declined 8.1% to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units. That figure is 2.9% above
the all-time low of 275,000 units hit in August for government
records that go back to 1963, the Associated Press reported.
Before the bell, orders for durable goods last month fell 3.3%
and were down 2.7% without transportation orders, a sharper drop
than Wall Street expected. Even so, weekly jobless claims fell
sharply to 407,000, the lowest level this year.
Supplies of crude oil rose 1.03 million barrels to 358.6
million, the U.S. Department of Energy reported. A Bloomberg survey
predicted a decrease of 2 million barrels.
In company news, Genzyme (
) shares are higher following a report that the company met a
deadline to move operations for U.S. medicines following
Genzyme says it has ended fill/finish operations within its
Allston plant for products sold in the United States, as required
by the FDA consent decree. All fill/finish activities for Cerezyme,
Myozyme, Fabrazyme and Thyrogen for the U.S. market now take place
at GENZ's Waterford, Ireland plant, and at an external contract
With this move, all previous restrictions on the marketing and
distribution of Thyrogen within the United States have been
) shares are higher as the bank agreed to buy back $869 million of
auction-rate securities it had sold to Hawaii, according to a
Bloomberg report. The bank must also repay the state for losses on
securities it had liquidated. Citigroup does note admit fault as a
result of the deal and Hawaii cannot pursue claims against the
bank, said Hawaii's Attorney General Mark Bennett.
ADRs of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) are higher despite a report
saying that U.S. regulators ordered the oil major to reduce
operating pressure on its 360,000-barrel-a-day pipeline from Houma,
Louisiana to Houston by 20%. The order reportedly said that Shell
did not identify an sign of corrosion during a 2007 inspection of
Shares of Oracle (
) are higher in regular session trading after the company won a
$1.3 billion jury verdict against SAP (
) over copyright infringement from a now-closed SAP unit. The trial
between the two rivals last 11 days and had riveted Silicon Valley.
Oracle had said that copyrighted software was used by SAP's
U.S.-based TomorrowNow unit to offer technical support to companies
Oracle had acquired. SAP has said it will pursue all available
Also, shares of Eli Lilly & Co. (
) are higher after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approved Axiron topical solution CIII for
replacement therapy in men for certain conditions associated with a
deficiency or absence of testosterone. The treatment is the first
testosterone topical solution approved for application via an
armpit (underarm) applicator.
Other forms of testosterone replacement therapy include: oral
tablets, buccal tablets, subcutaneous pellets, transdermal patches,
injections and topical gels, the company said in a statement. Eli
Lilly is developing the drug with Australian company Acrux Ltd.
Meanwhile, Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) is higher after the
communications chipmaker said it has completed its acquisition of
Beceem Communications Inc., a privately-held company developing
system-on-a-chip technology for 4G broadband communications.
Broadcom paid $316 million for Baceem, net of cash assumed. It
expects the acquisition will be neutral to 2011 earnings.
ADRs of Bank of Ireland (IRE) are down sharply for the third day
in a row amid concern that a European Union bailout of Ireland will
put the bank under government control, according to a report.
In earnings news:
--Shares of Tiffany (TIF) are higher after the high-end jewelry
company's Q3 earnings and revenues blew by Street estimates and it
raised its profit target for the year on strong pre-holiday
--Guess Inc. (GES) shares are higher after the clothing company
said fiscal Q4 net income topped Street estimates.
Commodities are mixed as December gold contracts are down $4.4
to $1,373.20 an ounce while January crude contacts are up 2.38%, or
$1.94, at $83.19 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.35% to
$35.77 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.16% to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.19%
to $134.15. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.07% to
$59.58. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.06% to $26.88.
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