Stocks are down at mid-day but off session lows, as investors
digest mixed economic data led by disappointing January retail
sales and flat sentiment among home builders. Adding to the mix is
the long-awaited merger between NYSE Euronext (
) and Germany's Deutsche Boerse and a stream of earnings.
Retail sales climbed by a less-than-expected 0.3% in January
offsetting an upbeat report on February manufacturing conditions in
the New York area. The February Empire State factory index rose to
15.4 from a revised 11.9 in January. December import price rose
1.5%, picking up from 1.2% in December.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index remained at 16, as expected by economists, a level
it's held since November. A reading above 50 signals good
conditions, a level last attained in 2006. Overall, the housing
market remains weak, plagued by foreclosures and tight lending
standards, the group said.
Meanwhile, business sales rose 1.1% in December, but the
December inventory-to-sales ratio, which signals demand, matched
November's reading of 1.25.
In company news:
NYSE Euronext (
) and Deutsche Boerse put the finishing touches on a widely
expected merger agreement Tuesday morning. The two said they will
merge following approval by the boards of directors of both
companies. The combined firm will be 60% owned by Deutsche Boerse
shareholders and 40% owned by NYSE Euronext shareholders. The deal
had been expected after exchange operators confirmed to news
outlets they were in talks. The group will have 2010 combined net
revenues of $5.4 billion, the companies said.
Shares of CB Richard Ellis (
) are higher after the company said it inked a deal to acquire the
majority of ING Group's real estate investment management
businesses. The deal was struck for $940 million in cash.
Shares of Apple (
) are higher after the company unveiled a subscription service for
content publishers who sell apps through its App store. Such apps
include magazines, newspapers, video and music. Subscriptions
purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App
Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and
in-app purchases. Publishers set the price and length of
Shares of Home Depot (
) are lower after Bloomberg reported the home improvement store is
hiring more than 60,000 temporary workers in the US an adding
permanent employees for the second consecutive year. The retailer
is making the move as it gears up for the spring--its biggest
selling season of the year.
Shares of Anika Therapeutics (
) are down sharply after the company stated that it has requested
the Orthopedic Advisory Panel to review Monovisc, its proposed
osteoarthritis drug. The request comes after an extended dialogue
with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company has yet to
receive a date for an Advisory Panel meeting, but continues to
believe that Monovisc should receive FDA approval, according to its
press release yesterday.
Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) are down after the oil major said
its oil and gas reserve additions last year were double that of its
production, Reuters reported. The move marks the biggest jump in
more than 10 years. The gains were partly due to Exxon's
acquisition of XTO Energy. Exxon said its proved reserves increased
by 3.5 billion oil equivalent barrels--209% of its production. That
brings its reserve base to 24.8 billion oil equivalent barrels.
Shares of Mylan (MYL) are down after Bloomberg reported that the
drug maker has started making Voriconazole Tablets in 50mg and
200mg under a previously reported settlement and license agreement
with Pfizer (PFE). Voriconazole treats serious fungal
EnerSys (ENS) says certain of its stockholders, which are
affiliates of Metalmark Capital LLC, have agreed to sell 2,845,869
shares of its common stock to Goldman, Sachs & Co. (GS).
Berkeshire Hathaway (BRK.B) sold its stake in Bank of America
(BAC), which brings to an end an investment that extended for more
than three-and-a-half years when the bank's shares lost over
two-thirds of their value, Bloomberg reports. Berkshire--Warren
Buffet's firm--had no shares in the bank at the end of 2010. This
compares with 5 million shares it held three months earlier,
according to regulatory filings.
In earnings news;
--DG (DGIT) says Q4 sales were $76.1 million, non-GAAP EPS were
$0.76 and GAAP EPS were $0.51. That topped the Thomson Reuters mean
for $68.7 million in sales and $0.45 in EPS.
--SiriusXM (SIRI) reports Q4 revenue of $736 mln, up 9% over
year ago levels but shy of the Street view of $740 mln on Thomson
Reuters. GAAP loss was $0.02 per share, vs. $0.00 per share a year
--Fossil (FOSL) reports Q4 sales of $701 mln, well ahead of the
analyst consensus of $650 mln on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $1.46,
vs. expectations of $1.35 per share.
--Vonage (VG) reports Q4 EPS of $0.07 on revenue of $218 mln,
both better than the two analyst estimate on Thomson Reuters for
$0.05 per share in earnings and revenue of $215 mln. The company
reaffirmed its 2011 outlook.
Commodities are higher. April gold contracts are up $9, or
0.65%, to $1,374 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are up
0.26%, or $0.23, at $85.01 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.36%
to $35.75 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.19% to $5.34.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.62% to
$133.82. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.36% to $57.11.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.1% to $29.94.