Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading after economic data released
this morning showed an improving picture for manufacturing and
industrial production. Also, consumer prices showed a slight gain
in November due, in part, to tempered energy costs.
In the latest round of economic data, conditions for New York
manufacturers improved in December after a rough November,
according to survey released by the New York Fed. The Empire State
manufacturing survey for December rose 22 points to +10.6 after a
negative reading in November. Economists polled by MarketWatch had
expected a +3 reading.
Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 0.1% in November, as
prices for food and energy each increased 0.2%, the Labor
Department said. The change in energy prices was the smallest since
June. Led by increases for shelter and airline fares, the core CPI,
which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.1%, for its first gain
since July, MarketWatch said.
Also, U.S. November industrial production rose 0.4%, better than
the Marketwatch.com mean forecast for a gain of 0.2%.
Factory activity rose 0.3% in November for the second straight
month. Excluding autos, factory output was up 0.7%. There were
revisions to the data going back to June but the net effect left
the level of production about the same as was previously reported,
the Fed said. Capacity utilization rose to 75.2% in November from
74.9% in October. This is the highest rate since October 2008.
In company news:
Broadcom Corp. (
) is down despite raising its Q4 revenue estimate to around $1.9
billion, the top end of its prior forecast range. Wall Street
analysts previously had predicted about $1.85 billion in sales,
according to Dow Jones.
Shares of Novartis (
) are higher in the regular sessions following word the drug maker
will take full control of Alcon after it agreed to pay $12.9
billion for the remainder of the company's stock. Previously,
Novartis controlled approximately 77% of Alcon. After the merger is
completed, Alcon will become the new eye-care division of
) and MasterCard (
) shares are mixed in regular-session trading amid word that
Canada's Competition Bureau is targeting "restrictive and
anti-competitive" rules used by the two companies that raise costs
for both merchants and consumers, according to a Reuters report on
) and Roche (RHHBY) ADRs are mixed following news that the U.K.'s
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said that
Glaxo's Tyverb and Roche's Herceptin did not offer enough value to
patients who used them in conjunction with another breast cancer
Shares of Zale Corp. (ZLC) are higher with the jewelry retailer
reportedly putting its Piercing Pagoda kiosk operations on the
block, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Apollo
Global Management LLC is among the private equity firms interested
in unit, they said.
Chevron (CVX) and Shell (RDS-A) are forming a joint venture to
build a 136-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from a Chevron hub
in the Jack and St. Malo deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico to
a platform owned and operated by Shell. The new hub facility is
expected to produce about 170,000 barrels per day starting in
Regions Financial (RF) and BankAtlantic Bancorp (BBX) are higher
after the South Florida Business Journal reports that PNC Financial
Services (PNC) is looking at deals with the two banks. The story
says PNC is actively looking to buy branches in Florida, and is in
due diligence for an acquisition of RF, according to two sources in
the banking industry.
Shares of McDonald's (MCD) are higher as the company said it
intends to boost its investment in China by 40% during 2011,
opening between 175 and 200 new restaurants in the country. It did
not provide specific investment amounts. At the same time,
McDonald's is being sued by a U.S. consumer group in a bid to stop
the company from using Happy Meal toys to draw children into its
restaurants, Reuters reported. The class-action suit will be filed
in state court in San Francisco.
ADRs of Baidu (BIDU) are down as AChina's top search engine said
it sees top- and bottom-line growth rates getting software over the
next year as it looks at possible acquisitions and "contextual"
ads, according to a Reuters report. In October, the search engine
said Q3 net profit more than doubled and Sales almost doubled.
Commodities are mixed; February gold contracts are down $14, or
0.96%, to $1,391 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up
0.22%, or $0.19, at $88.46 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.50% to
$38.09 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.43%
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.46%
to $135.56. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.89% to
$61.60. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.59% to $28.64.