Stocks are near session highs at mid-day, with the Dow Jones
Industrial Average rallying by more than 300 points, following news
that European leaders agreed to increase a bailout fund to contain
the continent's debt crisis. Also, the economy grew at a faster
clip than economists had predicted, according to new government
data, while consumer spending also surged.
Traders were also buoyed by a new government report that Q3 U.S.
gross domestic product grew by a 2.5% annual rate, nearly double
the 1.3% rate of growth in the second quarter and way ahead of Q1's
0.4% increase. Economists, however, were looking for Q3 growth to
reach 2.8%, according to a MarketWatch poll. Consumer spending was
the strongest since the Q4 2010, rising at a 2.4% rate after
slowing to a 0.7% in Q2, according to the Commerce Department.
In addition, initial jobless claims for the week ended Oct. 22
fell by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, the Labor
Department said. Economists were looking for a gain to 405,000,
MarketWatch reported. The rolling four-week average, however,
inched higher to 405,500.
Overseas, European officials announced a plan under which
private investors will take a 50% write-down on their holdings of
Greek debt, the firepower of the euro-zone bailout fund will be
increased to around $1.4 trillion and European banks will be
Asia's move began a global stock rally though some analysts say
the bailout fund possibly may need to be enlarged even more. They
note the mixed stock reaction that followed the U.S.'s TARP bank
debt plan a few years ago.
In real estate, pending home sales slipped 4.6% last month,
according to data released from the National Association of
In mid-day company news:
Shares of Exxon Mobil (
) are higher after Reuters reported that the U.S. oil major found
hydrocarbons off the coast of Vietnam. Another firm prospecting
near the site is quoted in the report as saying the discovery was
"a potentially significant find."
) and Oracle (
) shares are higher after The Wall Street Journal's All Things
Digital reported that a patent infringement trial between the two
tech industry giants will not happen this year. The judge presiding
over the litigation proposed a trial plan to attorneys, saying the
trial will not happen in 2011, the report said.
MF Global (
) shares are higher following a WSJ report that the company hired
investment bankers to explore a possible sale of the company.
) is higher after Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company announced
today that it has signed an agreement to be acquired by the company
for $360 million. Great Plains is the fifth-largest independent
Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, with territories in
Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Pfizer (PFE) shares are higher after the company said in a
statement today that the European Commission had approved the
company's pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Prevenar 13.
National Bank of Greece (NBG) is trading higher through the
first half of the session after European leaders earlier today
agreed to increase the firepower of the EFSF bailout fund to $1.4
trillion (1tn euros), while banks agreed to take a 50% write-down
on Greek government bonds.
Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are higher ahead of the
chip maker's Q3 earnings report due after the close tonight. The
analyst mean estimate on Thomson Reuters is for profit of $0.10 per
share on $1.65 billion in revenue.
In earnings news:
--Legg Mason (LM) is up after it reported Q2 EPS of $0.61 on
revenue of $670 million. Analysts looked for EPS of $0.37 on
revenue of $674.46 million.
--ADRs of AstraZeneca (AZN) are higher as the drug maker reports
Q3 EPS of $1.71 and revenue of $8.21 billion. Analysts looked for
EPS of $1.68 on revenue of $8.25 billion. For its outlook, the
company says it now sees FY EPS of $7.20- 7.40, above previous
guidance of $7.05-$7.35 and straddling the Street view of
Commodities are higher. December gold contracts are up 0.64% to
$1,735 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are up 3.28% to
$93.16 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.57% to
$35.96 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.86%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.88% to
$168.88. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.31% to $58.74.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 4.34% to $33.91.
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