Stocks Higher in Mid-Day Trading as Earnings Swings Into Full Gear; Intel, JPMorgan Lower

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Stocks are broadly higher at mid-day as investors cheer yesterday's and today's litany of good news. Global stocks found support in the latest Fed meeting minutes issued Tuesday afternoon, which signaled additional quantitative easing ahead. Positive earnings news from Intel ( INTC ) post-bell yesterday, and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM ) this morning have also provided lift.

In company news, Apple ( AAPL ) shares hit the $300 mark for the first time and a new 52-week high of $301.72, while the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is making a version of its iPhone model for Verizon Communications ( VZ ) to sell. The network is already testing its systems to see if it can handle the subsequent data load, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of Pfizer ( PFE ) are still higher on news the company's antidepressant reboxetine is no more effective than a placebo in the treatment of symptoms of depression, according to a recent study. Researchers at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care concluded that previous studies overestimated the drug's benefit by 115%, Bloomberg reported.

Clearwire Corp ( CLWR ) is higher as it looks to raise between $2.5 billion and $5.0 billion in a wireless spectrum auction. Analysts expect high interest from major telecommunications groups, including AT&T Inc ( T ), Verizon Communications Inc ( VZ ), Sprint Nextel Corp ( S ), and Time Warner Cable Inc ( TWC ). The auction process will be held behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, Verizon and AT&T may be required by U.S. regulators to start alerting their mobile phone customers who are about to go over their monthly limits and trigger higher service charges, Bloomberg reported. The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose rules tomorrow and could have a final vote in the next few months, the report said, citing and interview with Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ) will see better sales at its U.S. stores in the fourth quarter because of efforts the company is making to renew its focus on lower prices, the company's chief executive officer said, as reported by Reuters.

"I expect to see positive sales results in this fourth quarter," CEO Mike Duke said, according to Reuters, citing comments at the company's annual meeting. Sales at stores open for at least one year have fallen in each of the past five quarters, the report said.

Chesapeake Energy ( CHK ) said that its Chief Financial Officer Marcus C. Rowland is leaving the company after 18 years to join another company, Franc Tech, as president. The announcement came ahead of the company's annual analyst meeting, Reuters noted.

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co Inc. ( GAP ) is plunging amid reports that the supermarket group is looking to restructure itself in an attempt to cut debt. A&P is talking with a number of investment banks on how to tackle its $1 billion debt load, including $157 billion in convertible bonds due in June 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Intel ( INTC ) is lower following yesterday's Q3 earnings report that revealed the company had revenue of $11.1 billion, better than the analyst mean of $10.99 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.52 per share, two cents ahead of the Street view. For Q4, the company is guiding for revs of $11.4 billion, plus or minus $400 million. The Street is at $11.31 billion.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM ) cut its third-quarter compensation for employees of its investment bank by 31% compared to last quarter because the company's revenue decline, Bloomberg reported. The financial services firm reported Q3 earnings of $1.01 per share, better than the analyst mean of $0.90 per share on Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $24.3 billion, about in line with the Street view of $24.6 billion. Still, revenue was off by 11% compared to a year ago.

Qualcomm Inc ( QCOM ) is on the rise after the wireless phone chip maker declared a quarterly dividend, and also bought out iSkoot Technologies Inc. Details of the buyout of iSkoot were not disclosed.

Office Depot, Inc. ( ODP ) says it is currently in negotiations to sell its existing Office Depot (Israel) Ltd. business to New Hamashbir Lazarchan, Ltd. for proceeds of $47 million, less outstanding debt at time of closing, and the subsequent licensing of certain trade names and intellectual property rights.

Commodities are higher. December gold contracts are up $24, or 1.78%, to $1,371 an ounce while November crude contacts are up 2.02%, or $1.67, at $83.35 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 1.8% to $36.29 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is up 3.27% to $6.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is up 1.42% to $133.84. Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) is up 2.31% to $58.49. iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 1.97% to $23.29.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities


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