Stocks Gain as Eurozone Concerns Ease; Consumer Confidence, Leading Indicators Mixed

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Stocks are higher at mid-day as developments in the Eurozone ease sovereign debt concerns as key leaders voice support for the euro and finding a solution to Greece's debt crisis. New data showed lingering concern among American consumers about the economic situation at home, but leading indicators came in ahead of expectations, providing some lift.

A gauge of consumer sentiment declined to 71.8 in early June from 74.3 in May, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 73.5 for the preliminary June estimate.

The Conference Board's leading economic indicators grew 0.8% in May, ahead of expectations for a 0.5% gain, according to Marketwatch.com. April was downwardly revised to a 0.4% drop.

Overseas, European stocks did recover from early losses to trade mostly higher as France and Germany committed to supporting the euro and finding a solution to the crisis in Greece. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference that a new aid program for Greece is needed and that private-sector participation should be voluntary, according to news reports.

In company news:

Shares of Deutsche Bank ( DB ) are higher along with other European banks as Chief Executive Josef Ackermann addressed concerns over Greece's debt at a panel discussion at an investment conference in Russia, MarketWatch reports. Ackermann said that forcing Greece to undergo austerity measures and reduce its budget deficit will not solve the debt problem there. Invoking the Marshall Plan, which the US and its allies implemented in Europe after World War II to rebuild the area, Ackermann reportedly said the EU needs "an economic program." He also supported the preservation of a single currency system in Europe.

Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI ) are lower in regular-session trading after the drug maker said the United States District Court for the District of Nevada denied Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s request for a preliminary injunction and request for a temporary restraining order preventing WPI's launch of generic SEASONIQUE.

Research In Motion (RIMM) is down sharply after the company reported Q1 revenue of $4.9 billion, below the analyst consensus of $5.15 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $1.33, vs. expectations of $1.32 per share. For Q2, the company is guiding for revenue in the range of $4.2 to $4.8 billion. EPS is seen in the range of $0.75 to $1.05 per share. The Street is at $5.4 billion in revenue and EPS of $1.40 per share.

K-V Pharmaceutical Co. (KV.A, KV.B) is sharply higher after the company said it will sell Nesher Pharmaceuticals, Inc., its generics subsidiary, and the company's generic business and assets to Zydus Pharmaceuticals ( USA ), Inc. for approximately $60 million in cash. The transaction is estimated to close during the Q2 of KV's 2012 fiscal year.

Citigroup Inc. ( C ) will open dozens of branches in China over the next three years, stepping up its strategic presence in the world's second largest economy, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Friday, citing a senior executive of the bank.

Shares of BPZ Energy ( BPZ ) are sharply higher in after-hours trading after the company announced the start of the process to identify and select a potential partner for its offshore Block Z-1 in northwest Peru.

Commodities are mixed. August gold contracts are up 0.67%, to $1,540 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are down 1.65% to $93.30 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.9% to $36.71 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.69%, to $11.06.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.73% at $150.06. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.39% to $52.50. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.17% to $34.74.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BPZ , C , DB , USA , WPI

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