Stocks Lower at Mid-Day as Investors Weigh Geopolitical Events, Housing Data


Stocks are down in mid-day trading as crude oil futures topped $105 a barrel and investors eyed February new home sales that tumbled to a record lower. Fighting in Libya and the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan also continued to hit stocks.

In the latest economic data, sales of new single-family homes plunged as high unemployment and strict mortgage standards combined to weigh heavily on purchasing activity. The Commerce Department said new-home sales fell 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 last month. Economists expect sales to edge up to 290,000 from 284,000 reported a month earlier.

The aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also continue to worry investors. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 1.6%, extending losses in the final hour of trading after reports of higher-than-allowed levels of radioactive iodine in Tokyo drinking water. European stock averages are mostly lower in choppy trading.

Among today's movers, Adobe ( ADBE ) fell after it reported an 85% rise in fiscal Q1 profit but lowered its Q2 revenue forecast due to the Japanese earthquake. Also, XOMA Ltd. ( XOMA ) announced that its Phase 2b trial of XOMA 052 in Type 2 diabetes patients did not achieve the primary endpoint of reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin, or HbA1c, after six monthly treatments with XOMA 052 compared to placebo.

In other company news:

Bank of America ( BAC ) is down on reports that regulators rejected the bank's plans to raise its dividend. The bank said it still hopes to raise its dividend in the second half of the year, and plans to submit a revised proposal to regulators at the Federal Reserve, according to a Reuters report.

Prana Biotechnology ( PRAN ) says it will sell securities to institutional investors in a private placement for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately A$6.120 million (US$6,190,992). The closing of the offering is expected to occur on or about March 25.

Shares of Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) are down after Bloomberg reported the company is likely to end its months-long search for a buyer without a sale of the company, said five people with knowledge of the bidding process.

Chinese online search provider Baidu Inc. (BIDU) aims to develop software that lets users of smartphones and other devices navigate and perform other activities online via a search box on the screen, the company said Wednesday, in an indication that Baidu could be preparing to develop an operating system to go after Google Inc. (GOOG), according to a report on Dow Jones Newswires.

Shares of NetSol Technologies (NTWK) are logging solid gains after the company said it has seen a noticeable increase in activity within Pakistan's public sector, and its health and private business sectors are also on the rise. It says it has been invited as a pre-qualified company to tender offers for several new projects.

In earnings news:

--Cree (CREE) drops after it cut its Q3 revenue target to a range of $215 to $220 mln, primarily due to lower sales of LED chips and LED components. The analyst consensus on Thomson Reuters is for revenue of $255 mln.

--General Mills (GIS) reports Q3 sales of $3.65 bln, below the analyst consensus of $3.68 bln on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.56, in line with estimates.

Commodities are higher. April gold contracts are up $11, or 0.79%, to $1,439 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are up 0.66%, or $0.68, at $105.65 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.64% to $42.20 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up $0.09, or 0.79%, to $11.44.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.91% to $140.34. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 2.36% to $59.54. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.33% to $36.01.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: ADBE , BAC , BKS , PRAN , XOMA

MT Newswires

MT Newswires

More from MT Newswires:

Related Videos



Most Active by Volume

  • $10.9096 ▲ 7.06%
  • $16.3399 ▼ 0.61%
  • $29.345 ▲ 5.07%
  • $112.6804 ▼ 0.21%
  • $105.48 ▼ 0.15%
  • $5.77 ▲ 0.70%
  • $90.50 ▲ 0.86%
  • $5.1599 ▲ 1.77%
As of 8/28/2015, 09:36 AM

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Data Provided by