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 (
) has just registered an early firmer trade, up 0.3%. Among early
movers: Macy's (
) is up 1.9%; Limited (
) is up 1.1%; Gap (
), off 1.4%.
In company news:
) 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
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.
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