Stocks Mixed as Unemployment Uptick Weighs Ahead of Non-Farms Payroll Data Tomorrow


Stocks are mixed at mid-day after a shaky start following the release of weekly jobless claims that rose unexpectedly ahead of tomorrow's key non-farms employment report and tempered some support from positive retail sales reports.

The number of people who filed new applications for jobless benefits leaped 43,000 last week to 474,000, the highest level in almost nine months. A Labor official attributed much of the increase to temporary layoffs in the auto sector and in the state of New York, where workers in the educational field such as bus drivers are eligible for compensation during the week of spring break. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected claims to fall to seasonally adjusted 412,000 from the prior week's revised level of 431,000.

Most retailers are reporting much improved results in April, with help from Easter. Those missing with sales are citing weather factors. SPDR S&P Retail ETF ( XRT ) has just registered an early firmer trade, up 0.3%. Among early movers: Macy's ( M ) is up 1.9%; Limited ( LTD ) is up 1.1%; Gap ( GPS ), off 1.4%.

In company news:

Pfizer ( PFE ) today announced that its drug Revatio (sildenafil citrate) has been approved by the European Commission for the treatment of pediatric patients aged one to 17 years old with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The approval was based on the results of a dose-ranging phase 3 study that demonstrated Revatio's efficacy in terms of improvement of exercise capacity or pulmonary hemodynamics in patients who had primary pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypertension associated with congenital heart disease. Revatio was first approved by the European Commission in October 2005 for the treatment of adult patients.

Shares of Cisco Systems (CSCO) are higher after the company announced significant changes to its business structure and operations, according to a statement this morning. The networking equipment maker said it will streamline its sales, services and engineering organizations as it moves to focus on the five growth areas: routing, switching, and services; collaboration; data center virtualization and cloud; video; and architectures for business transformation. According to a Bloomberg report, Cisco is seeing an exodus of executives that former employees say shows dissatisfaction with the management structure at the tech company.

Shares of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are down after Bloomberg reported that the drug maker is set to resolve 1,000 more lawsuits over medicines including the diabetes drug Avandia, citing a lawyer for the patents. Glaxo is in settlement talks with attorneys for an estimated 1,000 former Avandia users.

The Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY) announced Thursday that it has acquired Big 10 Tires and Automotive, an automotive service provider in the Southeast, operating 85 stores throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama. It has acquired 92 operating locations in 2011 with $93 million in annual sales for an aggregate purchase price of $41 million. With the addition of these locations, PBY now operates 147 Service & Tire Centers and is well ahead of the targeted total of 55 new stores for fiscal 2011, the company said.

Bank of America (BAC) shares are down after the bank announced a move to triple its number of facilities that will be aimed at assisting struggling mortgage borrowers. The bank will boost the number from 12 to 40, the statement said. Two days ago, the bank had its servicer-quality ratings cut by Moody's after delaying foreclosures due to concerns it had mishandled mortgage paperwork. The ratings firm reportedly cited deterioration in the company's collections and loss-mitigation, the report said.

In earnings news:

--Pinnacle Airline (PNCL) today reported Q1 net income of $119,000 or $0.01 per share, excluding non-recurring items, down from $1.69 million or $0.09 per share in the prior-year quarter. Revenues grew 43.3% to $298.2 million from $208 million in the same period last year.

--Orbitz (OWW) falls after it says Q1 loss was $0.11 per share, meeting the Thomson Reuters mean. Sales were $184.9 million, above forecasts for $180.5 million. It sees Q2 sales between $194 million and $200 million, versus forecasts for $197.73 million.

--Domino's Pizza (DPZ) reported Q1 net income of $27.1 mln compared with last year's $24.5 mln, a 10.6% increase. Q1 EPS was $0.43 against the prior-year quarter's $0.41. Adjusted EPS was $0.42 compared to last year's $0.35, and tops the Thomson Reuters mean of $0.34.

--Shares of Murphy Oil (MUR) are higher after the company reported Q1 EPS of $1.38 on sales of 7.351 billion. The Street view was for EPS of $1 on sales of $7.57 billion.

Commodities are down. June gold contracts are down 1.39%, to $1,494 an ounce while June crude oil contacts are down 5.22% to $103.54 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 5.57% to $40.85 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 4.5%, to $11.25.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.8% at $145.05. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 2.61% to $56.83. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 6.5% to $35.77.

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

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: GPS , LTD , M , PFE , XRT

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