Stocks have slipped into negative territory as Europe worries
return to center stage, overshadowing new data showing signs of
life in regional manufacturing and a drop in first-time
The U.S. Federal Reserve's Philly Fed index rose to 8.7 in
October from negative 17.5 last month, MarketWatch noted in a
report on the data. Economists had expected a negative 10 reading,
the report said.
Also, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by
6,000 to 403,000 in the week ended Oct. 15. Initial claims from two
weeks ago were revised up to 409,000 from an original reading of
404,000, however. The average of new claims over the past four
weeks, seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends, fell by 6,250
to 403,000, the lowest since mid-April.
Overseas, an unexpected meeting between French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other international
officials in Frankfurt late Wednesday fueled worries over a
potential rift between Berlin and Paris over elements of a
comprehensive package of reforms expected to be presented by
euro-zone leaders at a Brussels summit meeting on Sunday, news
reports said. There was no official comment from the Wednesday
U.S. economic news helped cement those early mild futures gains,
though brought little fresh hope for aggressive labor market
In other company news:
Abbott Laboratories (
) are higher on a Bloomberg report that the breakup of the drug
maker into two separate firms will result in a $54 billion target
for acquisitive drug makers. A Jefferies Group analyst noted that
Merck & Co. (
), Roche (
) and Bayer (
) are potentially interested parties.
Shares of Apple (
) are lower after the company reported that it held down costs for
its iPhone 4S even as it made several design improvements, such as
the capacity t be used with multiple wireless systems. The report
cited an assessment from industry research firm IHS iSuppli.
Shares Neoprobe (NEOP) are sharply higher after it announced
that its New Drug Application for Lymphoseek has been accepted for
review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Neoprobe submitted
the Lymphoseek NDA last month.
Cisco (CSCO) is down after it today announced its intent to
acquire privately-held BNI Video. Under the terms of the agreement,
Cisco will pay $99 million in cash and retention-based incentives
in exchange for all shares of BNI Video. The acquisition is subject
to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be
complete in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2012.
In earnings news:
--Shares of The New York Times Co. (NYT) are higher after the
media company reported Q3 EPS, excluding items, of $0.05 per share,
ahead of the analyst consensus of $0.04 per share on Thomson
Reuters. However, revenue came in at $537.2 million, below
expectations of $541 million.
--Shares of Philip Morris (PM) are up 2.79%, or $1.84, to $67.7
after the company issued its third quarter report. The company said
Q3 EPS were $1.37, ahead of analyst expectations of $1.24. Revenue
rose 26.4% from the year ago period to $8.36 billion, comfortably
beating estimates of $7.57 billion. The company also says it sees
FY11 EPS of $4.75-4.80, higher than estimates of $4.74.
--Shares of Nokia (NOK) are higher after the mobile phone
company reported a $93.1 million Q3 loss, which was less than
analysts had expected, The New York Times reports. Chief Executive
Stephen Elop said despite the result, the firm's sales execution
and inventory situation had improved, the report said.
Natural gas futures gained after a new report showed inventories
rose 103 billion cubic feet for the week ended Oct. 14, less than
analysts had predicted.
Commodities are down. December gold contracts fell 2.27% to
$1,610 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are down $1.27 to
$86.29 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.32%
to $32.87 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 1.71%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.91%
to $156.81. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.68% to
$52.65. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.2% to $29.57.