Stocks are holding gains but off highs at mid-day as new data
showed the economic recovery is holding steady with personal
incomes rising, corporations continuing to purchase goods and
services and Fed officials offering reassuring words.
The Chicago PMI, rose to 71.2 from 68.8 in January, which came
in well above the 67.7 forecast by economists. The reading fell
just below the 71.5 hit in July 1988. A reading above 50 indicates
The US Commerce Department said personal income rose a
seasonally adjusted 1.0% in the first month of 2011, while consumer
spending rose a smaller 0.2%. Other figures showed inflation in
Adding to the mix were comments from the Fed's William Dudley.
He said the economy is showing signs of life, although the Fed
plans to continue its stimulus effort. At the same time, he said
the central bank won't let inflation get a foothold. Separately,
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the U.S. economy should
do well in 2011 and that higher oil prices won't slow the
But January pending home sales fell 2.8% from a downwardly
revised 3.2% in December. December was previously reported up 2%.
The January figure was close to expectations, according to
In company news:
Shares of Johnson & Johnson (
) is up 1.76%, after Bloomberg reported the health care products
giant was sued by a high school teacher in Tasmania over an
implanted hip-replacement device that stopped selling in Australia
due to defects. J&J allegedly broke Australia's trade law when
it sold an unit product and were negligent, the report said, citing
the legal papers.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase (
) are higher after a report in the Financial Times this weekend
that the investment bank is in talks to acquire a 10% stake in the
micro blogging service Twitter for $450 million. The report cited
people familiar with the plans. The move follows a similar move by
Goldman Sachs (
) to acquire a stake in social networking site Facebook.
Magic Software (
) is up after it says its business partner, Elad Software Systems,
will migrate the Israeli Ministry of the Interior's current
applications to uniPaaS. uniPaas is MGIC's software solution.
Meanwhile, Mylan Inc. (
) is higher, helped by positive news from its subsidiary, Matrix
Laboratories, Ltd. Matrix has received final approval from the U.S.
FDA for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Gabapentin
Capsules USP, 100 mg, 300 mg and 400 mg, the generic version of
Pfizer's Neurontin Capsules used to treat a painful complication of
shingles. Gabapentin Capsules had U.S. sales of approximately $300
million for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2010, according to IMS
Health. the drug-maker is launching this product immediately.
Shares of Motorola Mobility (MMI) are higher and Reuters reports
the company sued TiVo (TIVO) for infringing patents it holds for
digital video recorders. Motorola reportedly said is looking to
protect its interests after TiVo sued Verizon (VZ) for patent
ConocoPhillips (COP) is up after the oil giant reported that a
"power dip" caused flaring at its Wood River refinery in Illinois.
Based on a filing with state regulators, the flaring of sulfur
dioxide yesterday was sparked by the power drop in a distilling wet
gas compressor, Bloomberg reported.
Amazon.com (AMZN) is down this morning after it was downgraded
by UBS over concerns that increasing costs will put new pressure on
margins. Analyst Brian Pitz dropped the stock to "neutral" from
"buy," and lopped his target to $180 from $195.
In earnings news:
--ADRs of U.K. banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) are lower
after the company said its 2010 net profit more than doubled to
$13.16 billion, below expectations. The latest results followed a
profit of $5.83 billion in 2009, but were still below the $14.02
billion consensus forecast of analysts as the group also cut its
target for return on equity.
--Shares of Kenneth Cole (KCP) are down 10.59% today after the
company announced the departure of Jill Granoff as CEO, effective
immediately. According to the company, Granoff's departure as CEO
was by mutual decision. Granoff also resigned from the board.
Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Kenneth Cole will serve as
interim CEO. The company also reported its fourth quarter results,
posting a narrower quarterly loss. The company attributed the sales
growth to an increase in licensing revenues.
Commodities are mixed. April gold contracts are up $5, or 0.38%,
to $1,415 an ounce while April crude oil contacts are up 0.31%, or
$0.36, at $97.52 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.66%
to $39.42 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up $0.06,
or 1.16%, to $5.42.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.34% to
$137.85. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.02% to $59.55.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.47% to $33.04.
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