Stocks are down at mid-day as the major indexes pare most of
their early gains despite better-than-expected April home sales.
Earnings news provided support, while oil prices rebound and gold
gains on a weaker dollar.
April new-home sales rose 7.3% compared with the previous month,
to a 323,000 annual pace, but are down 21.3% year-over-year. March
rose a revised 8.3% to a 301,000 level. Economists polled by
Marketwatch.com expected sales at an annualized rate of 295,000
GT Solar is sharply higher after it reported Q4 revenue of
$271.6 million, better than the analyst consensus of $224 million
on Thomson Reuters. Earnings were $0.41, vs. expectations of $0.34.
The company raised its fiscal 2012 guidance for revenue to a range
of $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion, up from the previously provided
range of $850 million to $1.0 billion.
Based on estimated weighted average diluted shares outstanding
of approximately 131 million for the full fiscal year, fully
diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $1.55
to $1.85, up from the previously provided range of $1.25 to
The company expects gross margins for fiscal year 2012 to be in
the range of 42 percent to 44 percent. The Street is at $966
million in revenue and earnings of $1.45 per share.
In other company news:
Marathon Oil (
) firms after it says the Internal Revenue Service provided a
favorable private letter ruling confirming the tax-free status of
the planned spin-off of the company's downstream business.
The distribution of MPC common stock and certain related
transactions generally will not be taxable to MRO or U.S. holders
of MRO common stock, except in respect to cash received in lieu of
fractional share interests, which generally will be taxable to such
holders as capital gain, it said.
Shares of H&R Block (
) are higher, after the US Department of Justice filed a civil
antitrust lawsuit to block its proposed acquisition of 2SS
Holdings, the Iowa-based developer of TaxACT digital tax
preparation solutions. "The Department of Justice today made a
determination to stifle smart business growth," said William C.
Cobb, H&R Block's president and CEO.
Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp. (
) is higher after announcing it had acquired privately held
SeaSpine Inc., a provider of products for the spine fusion market,
for $89 million in cash. Integra expects the deal to have no
immediate affect on its 2011 adjusted earnings, but will add $2
million to $3 million to second quarter revenue and about $18
million to $20 million to second-half revenue, the company
American International Group, (
) has been mired in the red since the open ahead of plans to sell
around 300 million shares of stock worth an estimated $9 billion
after the bell today. The U.S. Treasury is expected to sell 15% of
its AIG stake, as the federal government continues to close out
investments it made in troubled companies to stem the 2008
financial crisis. The stock is down 38% this year and is the
worst-performer in the S&P 500 index, according to The Wall
Shares of J. M. Smucker Company (
) are higher after it said it increased the list price for most of
its coffee products sold in the United States, primarily consisting
of items sold under the Folgers, Dunkin' Donuts, Millstone, and
Folgers Gourmet Selections brand names. Prices will increase an
average of 11% on impacted items. The increase in price is driven
by sustained increases in green coffee costs.
ADRs of AstraZeneca (AZN) are higher as Reuters reports the drug
maker, along with, Daiichi Sankyo, will co-promote Amgen's new bone
cancer drug denosumab in Japan--a market that is becoming a growing
focus for Western drug makers. Daiichi bought rights to denosumab
from Amgen in 2007, the report noted.
Shares of Cree Inc. (CREE) are down while Reuters reports that a
spokeswoman from General Electric (GE) denied that it had selected
Cree to supply it with 60-watt equivalent bulbs. Cree shares had
risen in early trading after Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed
Dorsheimer said GE had selected Cree to supply it with bulbs in a
In other earnings news:
--Medtronic (MDT) is a gainer after it says Q4 sales were $4.295
billion, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $4.28562 billion.
Non-GAAP EPS were $0.90, two cents below estimates.
--AutoZone (AZO) firms as it reports Q3 EPS of $5.29 compared to
$4.12 a year earlier and topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst
estimate for $4.98. Sales rose to $2 billion from $1.8 billion,
topping the Street view or $1.9 billion. Same-store sales rose 5.3%
in the period.
Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up 0.64%, to
$1,525 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are up 2.03% to
$99.68 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.03% to
$39.25 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.36%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.5% at
$148.57. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.54% to $56.20.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 2.86% to $35.25.