Stocks Mixed as 2010 Comes to a Close; Market Near Two-Year Highs

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Stocks are mixed at mid-day in ho-hum session that is capping off an otherwise strong year for stocks that sent prices to two-year highs. With no economic news scheduled for release and a relatively slow, year-end trickle of corporate news, investors turned to prognostication about potential stock market catalysts for 2011 and consolidated gains.

In the latest news:

EBay Auction Co. said Friday its merger with fellow eBay Inc. ( EBAY ) unit eBay Gmarket Co. has been delayed. EBay Auction said in a regulatory filing it will later notify the market of the timeline for the merger process. The firms were initially scheduled to merge by Nov. 1, but eBay Auction didn't give a reason for the delay. The two eBay units are South Korea's largest online auction Web sites, Dow Jones Newswires reports. EBay took control of Gmarket last year.

Abbott Laboratories ( ABT ) is up on speculation the medical technology company will again soon raise its dividend. According to Seeking Alpha, ABT raised its dividend 10% to $0.44 a share in April 2010, following an 11% increase in 2009. In fact, ABT has increased its dividend for 38 consecutive years and there's little evidence the string will snap in 2011. The stock is currently yielding 3.7%.

Imax Corp. ( IMAX ) shares are higher on reports Sony Corp ( SNE ) may be interested in acquiring the company for as much as $40 a share. The (U.K.) Daily Mail, citing London traders, reports that Walt Disney Co. ( DIS ) also may be interested in buying the giant-screen exhibitor.

Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) shares are alternating between trading flat to slightly down after disclosing in regulatory documents last night that Board Chairman Craig McCaw plans to step down at year's end. McCaw, 61, informed CLWR executives of his plans earlier this week. There was no disagreement, the company said. The Wall Street Journal reported that Clearwater faces the challenges of smoothing its relations with its parent, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and in raising funds to build out its network. Eagle River, McCaw's holding company, which the WSJ says owns 4% of Clearwire, nominated Benjamin Wolff as chairman to succeed McCaw.

In banking news, shares of Deutsche Bank (DB) are higher as Bloomberg notes that the German bank climbed three slots to become the No. 2 global corporate bond underwriter, just under JPMorgan. JPMorgan has sat atop that list for three years.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) and Chase Bank USA N.A. (JPM) are revising a 2006 marketing and services agreement for Pier 1's private label credit card. Under the new deal, PIR will receive an undisclosed lump-sum payment from the bank as well as ongoing payments based on credit card sales.

Molycorp (MCP) is down after Reuters reports that the CEO said the company is in discussions with a number of potential joint-venture partners and customers scrambling to find other suppliers of the critical minerals in the wake of China's supply cut. In an interview, Chief Executive Mark Smith said the company was "absolutely" in negotiations to reach deals similar to the ones it announced earlier this month with Hitachi Metals Ltd and Sumitomo Corp.

Transocean (RIG) shares are up fractionally at mid-day, after the offshore contract provider of oil well drilling services said a federal panel that investigated the fatal 2005 Texas refinery blast that ended with a $50 million fine for BP (BP) doesn't have the authority to investigate the Gulf of Mexico disaster, Bloomberg reported.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is trading higher despite opening the regular session in the red on a report that a court-appointed receiver is trying to recover funds from the bank for victims of Tom Petters' Ponzi scheme.

Apache (APA) and Woodside Petroleum (WOPEY) shares are trading higher despite a Bloomberg report that the two halted Western Australia oil field production because a tropical low system was forecast to become a cyclone.

Commodities are higher. February gold contracts are up $13, or 0.9%, to $1,419 an ounce while February crude oil contacts are up 1.08%, or $0.97, at $90.81 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.18% to $38.95 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.12% to $6.01.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.06% to $138.48. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.17% to $60.67. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.4% to $30.17.

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

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: ABT , DIS , EBAY , IMAX , SNE

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