Stocks are up at mid-day after a choppy start this morning as
investors weighed some mildly upbeat data on the economy against
continuing debt woes in Europe, which eased today on plans by the
European Union to pump more money into Greece to provide a
short-term fix that will prevent a default at least until
New building permits unexpectedly jumped 8.7% to a 612,000-unit
annual pace last month, the best showing since December. Economists
polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a
540,000-unit rate, while they expected overall building permits in
May to fall to a 558,000 units annually.
In data released before the market open, the US Commerce
Department reported that the the U.S. current account deficit
increased to $119.3 billion in the first quarter. That comes to
3.2% of gross domestic product, and was up from $112.2 billion in
the fourth quarter. Also, weekly US jobless claims declined 16,000
to 414,000. The four-week moving average remained flat at
In company news:
Shares of communication networking equipment providers are
trending to the downside after Finisar Corp. (
) plunged. Negative sentiment carried over from pre-market trading
after the company warned that it's likely to miss Street estimates
for the current quarter. JDSU is down 3.0% while CIEN is down
1.21%. Finistar said post-bell yesterday that it expects EPS for
its fiscal first quarter, ending in July, to range between 16 cents
and 20 cents. Revenue is expected to range between $221 million and
$236 million. Analysts are looking for a consensus 36 cents a share
on $250.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.
BSD Medical Corp. (
), today announced positive results from its sales and distribution
of MicroThermX Microwave Ablation line of products. BSDM shares are
up a 12.18% increase, or $0.38, to $3.50.
) shares are higher after the home and auto insurer said it had
$600 million in pretax losses last month from natural disasters.
The figure was less than it was in April, Bloomberg noted in a
report. Also, the figure compares with $636 million in catastrophe
costs in the whole of last year's second quarter.
Shares of Kroger (KR) are higher after the grocer reported Q1
sales of $27.5 bln, better than the analyst consensus of $26.6 bln
on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.70, vs. expectations of $0.64 per
share. Kroger updated its identical supermarket sales and earnings
guidance for fiscal 2011. The company now expects identical
supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of 3.5% to 4.5% for the
year. The previous guidance range was 3% to 4%.
Shares of Pier 1 Imports (
) are down in morning trade after the import retailer said it
earned $0.12 per share in Q1. Sales were $334.603 million. A survey
of analysts by FactSet Research produced consensus estimates of
$0.1 a share of profit on $335.6 million of revenue.
) shares are higher as Reuters reports a Kazakh venture of the US
oil major will invest up to $20 billion by 2016 to boost production
by nearly 40%, quoting a senior company official. The company plan
is to increase crude output to 36 million tonnes, the report
Shares of AstraZeneca are down after the company said it is
planning to set up a new research center in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The investment is seen as evidence of the interest drug companies
are showing in the Russian market. AstraZeneca indicated that its
R&D investments would contribute $1.2 billion to the Russian
economy over the next five years, the report said.
Commodities are mixed as August gold contracts are up 0.08%, to
$1,528 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are down 0.07% to
$94.74 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.72%
to $37.31 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
2.49%, to $11.35.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.21%
at $148.80. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 2.09% to
$51.95. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.06% to $34.51.