Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading as an initial, upbeat
reaction to the freshly signed tax-cut package faded in the face of
geopolitical events in Korea and continuing debt concerns in
The tax package is touted as a boost to economic growth,
although critics say it will balloon the federal deficit, fuel
higher inflation and have a limited stimulus affect on the economy.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.30% from 3.33%
South Korea's military staged live fire military drills on an
island just miles from North Korea, raising tensions between the
In mid-day company news:
Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (
) are down after announcing along with partner Bayer (
) that a drug for retinal disorders met the main goal of a
late-stage study. The drug is purported to treat central retinal
occlusion, which can cause loss of vision. As a result of the
study, Regeneron will receive $10 million in milestone payment from
Bayer. Regeneron shares are down over 2%, but have risen 12% since
Elsewhere, shares of AT&T (
) are down after it agreed to purchase spectrum licenses in the
Lower 700 MHz frequency band from Qualcomm (
) for $1.925 billion. The move will bolster AT&T's ability to
provide an advanced 4G mobile broadband experience for its
customers in the years ahead. AT&T sees that it will begin
deploying this spectrum once compatible handsets and network
equipment are developed.
Shares of Sara Lee (
) are higher on news over the weekend the food products company has
been in talks to sell itself to Brazilian meat producer JBS,
according to Reuters. Talks between the two have reportedly been
going on for months, and the situation remains fluid. In November,
Sara lee sold its bakery business to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo for $925
Meanwhile, shares of Medtronic (MDT) are higher after the
company said that William A. Hawkins intends to retire as Chairman
and CEO of the company at the conclusion of the current fiscal year
ending April 29, 2011. The company's board of directors has
initiated an external search for his replacement, and Mr. Hawkins
plans to remain until his successor is appointed.
Sony (SNE) may miss a target to sell 25 million TVs this year,
Bloomberg reports, citing company VP Hiroshi Yoshioka. Sony, which
is the third-largest television maker in the world, could miss its
target by a "little bit," the report quoted Yoshioka as saying.
Still, the company's overall sales are in line with the prior
Shares of Jefferies (JEF) are down after the company said that
Q4 revenues are $698 million, better than the Street consensus of
$579 million on Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share came in at
$0.35 compared with expectations of $0.32 per share. Jefferies has
been expanding its advisory and trading units. It beat estimates on
record investment banking revenue.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is planning to acquire Lehman Brothers
former London office as its European headquarters, the company
announced this morning. The firm is making the buy for $769
million. "The opportunity for our Investment Bank to be located in
one state-of-the-art building allows us to upgrade our operational
capabilities and maintain our strong position in the region," said
Jes Staley, CEO of the investment bank, in a statement.
Shares of First Solar (FSLR) are down following the tech column
in this week's Barron's that says analysts expect further cuts to
German solar subsidies to be approved, an event which would take a
substantial bite out of earnings for industry leader First
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) shares are trending lower following a
Bloomberg report in which the retail giant's suppliers criticized
CEO Mike Duke and his managers for doing a poor job explaining
their business plans. In a survey, over half of the 139 suppliers
surveyed by a recruitment firm did not agree that "senior
leadership is aligned behind a strategic vision that is
consistently communicated and well understood by the supplier
community," the report quoted the survey as saying.
Commodities are modestly higher as February gold contracts are
up $5, or 0.36%, to $1,384 an ounce while February crude oil
contacts are up 0.36%, or $0.32, at $88.93 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.21% to
$37.89 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 1.57% to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.57% to
$134.95. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.10% to $60.50.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.04% to $28.52.