Stocks are holding gains in mid-day trading after new data shows
consumers have a brighter outlook on the economy, but not quite as
bright as economists had expected, and the U.S. trade gap narrowed
more than expected.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. rose to its highest level since
June when the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan reported this
morning that the preliminary December reading for consumer
sentiment came in at 74.2, up from 71.6 in November. Economists
expect the index to rise to 72.9 in December, according to a
Before the bell this morning, a new report showed the U.S. trade
deficit narrowed more than economists expected in October, down
13.2% to $38.7 billion
In company news on Friday:
Pfizer Inc. (
) is just lower after it said this morning it is removing blood
pressure drug Thelin from the market because it possibly can cause
fatal liver damage. The drug is sold in Europe, Canada and
Australia. Clinical trials and post-marketing reports showed a new
link to liver injury. Two patients may have died from taking the
drug, the company said. Pfizer said the withdrawal is
Occidental Petroleum Corp (
) is higher after announcing deals to sell all of its assets in
Argentina and buying property in Texas and North Dakota. The
company also raised its dividend, effective April 15, to $0.46 from
Borders Group Inc. (
) is down after saying last night it is talking with lenders to
secure "sufficient liquidity" through early 2012 and avoid
potential violations of debt covenants. The bookseller also is
considering selling certain assets along with cost saving and sales
generation initiatives after reporting a 17.6% drop in Q3 revenues
and a $74.4 million operating loss, or $1.03 a share.
Genesco Inc. (
) is down after reporting this morning that it was hit by a cyber
attack on its computer system. The company said no personal
information appears to have been lost, but it is still
investigating the extent of attack and that credit and debit card
numbers were the likely target.
National Semiconductor (
) is down more than 7% early today after missing sales forecasts in
its latest quarter, and guiding below the Street in the upcoming
Shares of hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. (CYH)
are higher after the company's acquisition offer was rejected by
Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s (THC) board. Community Health is taking
its $3 billion cash and stock offer public in a move to rally
shareholder support for the deal. THC surged some 50% in evening
trading and the company did confirm receipt of the offer. It would
represent a 40% premium to Tenet's closing price Thursday of
Panasonic Corp. (PC) is down in regular session trading after
company President Fumio Ohtsubo yesterday reportedly said he
expects the company to beat its full-year target of 21 million TV
sets sold in the 12 months ending March 31, 2011. Calendar year-end
sales also will likely be higher in the U.S. and Europe compared
with last year, he told Bloomberg.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares are higher after a report that the
bank is looking to force a Las Vegas development by KB Homes (KBH)
into bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported. JPMorgan filed for an
involuntary bankruptcy in Las Vegas, saying the builders of the
project are trying to avoid liability for a $585 million loan.
ADRs of Total SA (TOT) are higher as the firm's CEO, Christophe
de Margerie, said deepwater drilling is not completely safe but the
oil industry must continue to work there, according to a Reuters
report of the comments. "Look at what happened to BP (BP)" De
Margerie is quoted as saying. "Are we safer by going deep, deep
offshore? No, but we have to do it.... It's not 100 percent
The International Energy Agency this morning lifted its forecast
for global oil demand for 2010 and 2011. The IEA sees
stronger-than-expected consumption in North America and emerging
Asian countries, especially China, which could bring OPEC countries
under pressure to boost supplies next year.
The Paris-based agency estimates global demand will rise to 88.8
million barrels a day next year, about 260,000 barrels more than
previous guidance. It also hiked its 2010 estimate to 87.4 million
barrels a day, up 130,000 daily barrels.
Commodities are down. February gold contracts are down $14, or
1.03%, to $1,379 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down
0.93%, or $0.82, at $87.56 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.34%
to $37.43 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.69% to $6.05.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.62%
to $134.53. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.73% to
$60.98. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.28% to $27.67.
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