Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading while new data showed that
the claims for jobless benefits - which are compiled on a weekly
basis-- fell, and retail sales showed fractional improvement.
Investors are eyeing the second day of testimony from Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke today and the Consumer Price Index,
which the Labor Department will report tomorrow.
In the latest economic data, June retail sales were up 0.1%
compared to an expected decline of 0.2%. Also, the Labor Department
reported weekly jobless claims fell 22,000 to 405,000 with the less
volatile 4-week average down 3,750 to 423,250.
Late Wednesday, Moody's Investors Service warned that it could
downgrade U.S. government debt if the White House and lawmakers are
unable to reach a deal on raising the government's debt limit.
Debt talks stalled Wednesday night, with Republicans saying
President Barack Obama walked out of a negotiating session,
according to news reports, while Democrats denied the president
made an abrupt exit.
Stocks gained but saw the bulk of that advance evaporate by
Wednesday's close. The initial boost followed Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments to lawmakers saying the central
bank would take additional steps to shore up the U.S. economy if
weakness necessitated such action. Bernanke returns to Capitol Hill
In company news:
Shares of Sony Corp. (
) are down as Bloomberg reports the electronics giant is planning
to unveil upgraded digital book readers in the U.S. - possibly next
month - according to a report from the company. The Sony Reader
will be priced from $180 to $300, the report said. The move comes
as Sony is looking to challenge Amazon.com's (
St. Jude Medical (
) shares are higher as the company announced Thursday that it has
received European CE Mark approval for its ILUMIEN system, the
first integrated diagnostic technology that combines optical
coherence tomography and fractional flow reserve technologies in
) is higher after its board approved pursuing dividing the
company's Refining & Marketing, and Exploration &
Production businesses into separate publicly traded corporations.
The company is eyeing a tax-free spin off the refining and
marketing business to ConocoPhillips shareholders. The separation
is expected to be completed in the first half of 2012. Upon
completion, CEO Jim Mulva intends to retire. Until that point, he
will continue to serve as ConocoPhillips' CEO and lead the
Shares of U.S.-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (
) Thursday said European regulators have approved its new drug to
treat patients with metastatic or late-stage melanoma, the most
deadly type of skin cancer, Dow Jones Newswires reports.
In the latest earnings news:
--JPMorgan (JPM) is up some 3% after it reported Q2 EPS of
$1.27, better than the analyst consensus of $1.21 per share on
Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $27.4 billion, ahead of the Street
view of $25.1 billion.
--Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) says Q2 adjusted EPS were $0.41,
a penny more than the Thomson Reuters mean. Sales were $433.2
million, above estimates for $430.27 million.
--Shares of Yum! Brands (YUM) are higher after the company
posted better-than-expected quarterly results. YUM reported Q2 EPS
of $0.66 per share, better than the analyst consensus of $0.61 per
share on Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $2.81 billion, vs.
expectations of $2.7 billion.
Commodities are down as August gold contracts are down 0.04% to
$1,585 an ounce while August crude oil contacts are down 1.6% to
$96.47 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.77%
to $37.68 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.01%, to $11.01.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.14% at
$154.41. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.24% to $59.13.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.29% to $37.71.
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