Stocks are mixed in mid-session trading as investor weigh a
better-than-expected jobs report against the impact of high crude
prices on the economic recovery. Crude oil futures topped $100 a
barrel as concern mounted that unrest in Libya would disrupt oil
supplies. Adding to the mix was testimony from Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke before a congressional committee.
In the latest employment figures, ADP's February private-sector
employment report showed a slightly better-than-expected 217,000
rise in new jobs ahead of Friday's widely watched government
Fed Chairman Bernanke presented a monetary-policy report to the
U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Republicans--led by
Representative Ron Paul of Texas--criticized Bernanke's assessment
that rising oil prices would only lead to a temporary increase in
consumer price inflation. Bernanke defended the Fed's bond-buying
At 2 p.m. U.S. ET, the Fed's Beige Book of current economic
conditions will be released.
In company news:
Shares of Marina Biotech (
) are higher after it says data was presented demonstrating
significant knockdown of target mRNA in an orthotopic model of
malignant ascites with its proprietary UsiRNA construct and
DiLA2-based delivery system. "These results further demonstrate the
utility of our DiLA2 delivery technology for local administration,"
stated Barry Polisky, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at MRNA,
according to a release.
) is up slightly, ahead of today's expected unveiling of its new
iPad tablet. As more rivals are crowding the fast-growing market
with competing devices, few analysts expect anything revolutionary
in the iPad's features and design. Still, most believe that Apple
will have little trouble maintaining its market-dominating position
for the near term.
Shares of Hudson City Bancorp (
) are down after Reuters reported that the bank could be subject to
an informal regulatory enforcement action. The bank reportedly said
the OTS may require higher capital. The OTS may also limit dividend
payments, stock buybacks or adding debt.
Cytori Therapeutics Inc. (
) is up sharply after after the company announced that the
RESTORE-2 Study of the Celution System, a breast reconstruction
trial using a new minimally invasive procedure to repair lumpectomy
defects, has produced positive results. The European study, which
CYTX sponsored, resulted in a sustained and substantial rate of
physician and patient satisfaction at 12 months.
) shares are higher after a report the company is in advanced talks
to sell its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan to Softbank Corp. A deal could
be reached within a few weeks, according to Reuters. Separately, B.
Riley reportedly initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" and
price target of $21.
Weatherford (WFT) is down sharply after it said in a SEC filing
late Tuesday it is adjusting the past four years of results by
about $500 mln. The company cited material weakness in its income
tax reporting for the adjustment, according to Reuters. The amount
for each year is expected to range from $100 million to $150
million, according to the filing. Approximately $460 million of
these adjustments relate to an error in determining the tax
consequences of intercompany amounts over multiple years. The
errors have no impact on previously reported operating cash flow,
the company said in its filing.
Shares of Royale Energy (ROYL) are higher in morning trade as
the company said it closed a sale of certain assets located in Kern
County CA to a NYSE listed company. The sale includes an
undisclosed acreage position together with several infrastructure
assets. It has retained an overriding royalty on the acreage, which
is prospective for the Monterey Shale.
American International Group (AIG) shares are higher after the
insurance giant announced that MetLife (MET) has agreed to allow
AIG to offer for sale the MetLife equity securities AIG received
when it sold American Life Insurance Company, or Ailco, to MetLife
earlier than contemplated under the original terms of the sale.
Shares of McDonald's (MCD) are down and Reuters reports that the
chain restaurant is looking to boost investment in expanding its
business in Russia this year. The report quotes McDonald's Russia
President Khamzat Khasbulatov as saying "we plan to open at least
40 new restaurants this year, and investments will be significantly
higher than last year."
Commodities are higher. April gold contracts are up $9, or
0.62%, to $1,440 an ounce while April crude oil contacts are up
2.35%, or $2.34, at $101.97 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.8% to
$41.21 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down $0.09,
or 1.64%, to $5.09.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.25% to
$140.38. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.59% to $61.16.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.79% to $34.14.