Stocks Mixed as Crude Oil Backs Off Highs; Investors Eye Alcoa Earnings

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Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading as investors begin to eye corporate earnings, which are set to get underway after the closing bell today. With no economic news on the calendar, deal news also provided some support to equities.

Alcoa's ( AA ) latest results kick off another round of corporate results, beginning in post-bell this afternoon. AA is expected to show the benefit of a strong rise in the price of aluminum since last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research expect the aluminum giant to earn $0.27 a share on revenue of $6.14 billion, up from $0.10 a share on revenue of $4.89 million in the same period a year ago.

Elsewhere in company news:

The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext ( NYX ) said Sunday that it rejected an $11.3 billion bid from Nasdaq ( NDAQ ) and IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE ) to buy the company. NYSE Euronext said that its board decided to turn down the offer, which was submitted earlier this month, because it was "highly conditional" and would have caused unnecessary risk for shareholders. The company said it is sticking with its plan to combine with German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG. NYSE agreed to that $10 billion deal in February.

Shares of both Tenet Healthcare ( THC ) and Community Health Systems, Inc. plummeted today as Tenet filed a lawsuit against CHS alleging that the latter "systematically overbilled Medicare and likely other payers as well."

Shares of Sony Corp. (SNE) are down in late trading as the consumer electronics maker cut European prices for its PlayStation Portable video-game player by 24 percent, Bloomberg reports.

Merck & Co (MRK) and Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced today the creation of a joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize new combinations and formulations of branded generics in the emerging markets.

Level 3 Communications (LVLT) surged after it says it will buy Global Crossing (GLBC) in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction. GLBC shareholders will receive 16 shares of LVLT common stock for each share of GLBC common stock or preferred stock that is owned at closing.

In an effort to help end its US economic slump, retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) plans to return 8,500 products to store shelves, also in the hopes of reversing its seven-quarter decline. On top of its new ad campaigns, the retailer is promising to match local store prices. Company CEO Mike Duke also plans to open smaller Express stores to recapture market share lost to dollar stores.

Shares of BHP Billiton (BHP) are higher as Bloomberg reports the world's largest mining company squelched speculation that it plans to buy Royal Dutch Shell's stake in Woodside Petroleum. The Sunday Times reported Sunday that BHP was in talks with Shell, who was being advised by UBS.

Commodities are down. June gold contracts are down $3, or 0.22%, to $1,471 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are down 1.28%, or $1.45, at $111.34 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.53% to $44.47 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up $0.24, or 2.27%, to $10.82.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.27% at $143.27. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.59% to $63.57. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.79% to $40.18.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AA , ICE , NDAQ , NYX , THC

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