Stocks are lower in mid-day trading, after a surprise rise in
new home sales was offset by mixed earnings news and caution ahead
of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, where its
quantitative easing initiative is sure to be a topic.
On the housing front, U.S. new home sales rose 11.1% in March to
seasonally adjusted 300,000 rate, better than economists' forecasts
for a 290,000 sales rate. February also was revised up to 270,000
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold the
first of his recently announced regular briefings on Wednesday at
2:15 p.m. ET. That will follow the Fed's two-day policy
In company news:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it sees
possible anemia and psychiatric side effects in Merck's (
) experimental hepatitis drug, boceprevir, according to Reuters. A
summary prepared by FDA staff for an advisory panel that will
review the drug on Wednesday cited the increase in anemia in
patients treated with boceprevir. The summary also pointed to a
number of reports from patients who experienced psychiatric
symptoms such as suicidal and homicidal thoughts, the report
) is just higher after it says the penalty enforced on them by
) in late February has been lifted. On April 12, Overstock.com
shares fell after the company attributed its 5% lower sales due to
Google penalizing the company for noncompliance with search engine
guidelines which started Feb. 22.
) short-term problems are creating a buying opportunity for
long-term investors as it battles rising material costs and Wall
Street's lowered expectations, says a feature in this week's
Barron's. Hard-charging Nike has tripped over higher input and
freight costs. The stock dropped more than 9% last month after the
athletic-products giant reported disappointing third-quarter
results. But Nike is a marathoner, not a sprinter, and it will get
back on track over the next year, Barron's says.
Pain Therapeutics (
) announced today that REMOXY, its investigational drug for the
treatment of pain, has met the primary endpoints of an abuse
liability study. The top-line results, recently published in Pain
Medicine, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pain
Medicine, confirm that REMOXY is associated with a reduced
potential for abuse.
Barnes & Noble (BKS) shares are seeing some pressure after
the bookseller said it is turning its Nook Color ebook reader into
a full tablet device. The updated device will include Google's (
) Android 2.2 Froyo. The Tablet is set to be the cheapest Android
tablet on the market at $250, notes TheStreet.com.
Apple shares are keeping fractional gains as Bloomberg reports
South Korea's communications regulator is planning to look into if
the computer and electronics device maker broke a law there by
saving data on the location of its iPhone users. The agency--called
the Korea Communications Commission--queried Apple to see how often
user data is collected and saved. They also inquired whether users
have a choice over whether it is saved.
Shares of Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN) are down after
Nomura Securities cut its rating on the stock to Neutral from Buy.
The firm cited a lack of pricing power as the bank grows loans at
lower yields. Last week, Huntington Bancshares reported Q1 EPS of
$0.14 compared to $0.01 a year earlier, topping the Street view for
$0.11. Officials said costs should "remain relatively stable" and
nonaccrual loans should "decline meaningfully throughout the
Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) are trending lower
as the two oil majors--the largest in the US--gear up to report
earnings at the end of the week. Analysts see Exxon Mobil reporting
a first-quarter profit of $9.8 billion, or $2.01 a share when
reports Thursday. Chevron is expected to report Friday that it
earned $3.04 a share, up nearly 29% year-over year.
In earnings news:
--Cooper Industries (CBE) says Q1 EPS from continuing operations
were $0.93, up 33% from a year ago. Sales improved 18% to $1.28
billion from a year earlier.
--Johnson Controls (JCI) reports Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.56
compared to $0.43 a year earlier and beating the Thomson Reuters
mean analyst estimate for $0.56. Sales of $10.1 billion are up 22%
from the $8.3 billion reported a year earlier. The Street looked
for $9.4 billion.
--RadioShack (RSH) reports Q1 sales of $1.06 bln, in line with
the analyst consensus onThomson Reuters. EPS was $0.33, including
two cents in items, vs. Street estimates of $0.35 per share, ex
Commodities are mixed. June gold contracts are up 0.35%, to
$1,509 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are down 0.53% to
$111.69 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.54%
to $44.33 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.95%, to $11.43.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.33% at
$147.23. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.84% to $61.48.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.64% to $46.28.
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