Stocks are lower in mid-session trading as investors digest
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke's continuing testimony
on the economic outlook and monetary and fiscal policy to the House
Speaking before the committee, Bernanke said that last month's
jobless rate decline to 9% from 9.8% offers some reason for
optimism, but said it would likely be several years before the
unemployment rate returns to more normal levels, according to
Bernake said, despite economic improvements, the central bank
will continue with its $600 billion stimulus plan.
There are no major economic reports due today.
In company news:
) is down on plans to buy PlaySpan, a privately held company whose
payments platform handles transactions for digital goods in online
games, digital media and social networks globally. According to the
company, the acquisition will complement its 2010 CyberSource
acquisition and extend its capabilities into one of the
fastest-growing segments of eCommerce--digital and mobile
) is down following a Bloomberg report that the online auction
company is planning to lay out a three-year plan tomorrow to expand
its PayPal unit business and repel threats from Google (
) and Apple (
). PayPal is Ebay's fastest-growing business. The service is set to
generate more sales than EBay's e-commerce market place, the report
Teva Pharmaceuticals (
) shares are lower despite positive drug trial news. Teva said
results from a Phase III study of QNAZE HFA, its nasal aerosol
corticosteroid in development to treat perennial allergic rhinitis
(PAR) and seasonal allergic rhinitis, achieved all primary and
secondary efficacy endpoints, demonstrating significantly greater
relief of nasal symptoms, including runny nose, nasal congestion,
nasal itching and sneezing, compared with placebo.
Goldman Sachs (GS) shares are down after Goldman Chief Financial
Officer David Viniar said the company bought too many hard-to-sell
assets before the financial crisis in 2008, Bloomberg reported. The
comments cam from a conference in Miami hosted by Credit Suisse.
Viniar said that Goldman was "buying more illiquid assets than we
probably should have."
French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) is down following news
that ongoing efforts to win over its takeover target U.S biotech
Genzyme (GENZ) has prompted the firm to expect an earnings decline
this year of between 5% and 10%. The company said it expects
generic competition to accelerate next year and predicts a 5% to
10% decline in 2011 business earnings per share. The forecast does
not assume a return of generic competition to cancer treatment
Eloxatin in the U.S., or any benefit from the possible acquisition
of Genzyme, the company said in its only reference to Genzyme in
the quarterly earnings statement.
Investors are awaiting results from networking giant Cisco
Systems (CSCO) due after the close today. Analysts are looking for
Cisco to report EPS of $0.35 per share. In particular, analysts
will be looking to see if CEO John Chambers joins other executives
who are becoming more upbeat about the global economy.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP) are planning to close and
sell refineries in the United States and Germany due to declining
demand for fuels like gasoline, Bloomberg reports.
In earnings news:
--Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) reports Q4 EPS of $0.27, vs.
Street estimates of $0.24 per share. Revenue was $993 million,
better than expectations of $970 million.
--Coca-Cola (KO) reports Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.72, up 9% from
the year-ago quarter and in line with the Thomson Reuters mean
analyst estimate. Revenue of $10.5 billion tops the $7.5 billion
seen a year ago. The Street expected $9.96 billion.
--Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) posted net income of $168 million, or
$1.72 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2011,
versus net income of $111 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, for
the same period in fiscal 2010. The Street view was $1.29 per share
Commodities are mixed. April gold contracts are down $2, or
0.15%, to $1,362 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are down
0.06%, or $0.04., at $86.98 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.46%
to $36.47 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.05% to $5.49.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.05%
to $133.07. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.13% to
$56.70. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.24% to $29.56.