Stocks are mixed at mid-session after new economic data showed a
brighter employment picture and households in the U.S. reduced debt
for the 10th straight quarter. Adding to the mix are renewed
concerns over the European debt situation and a mixed bag of
First-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 421,000
last week, the second-lowest level this year, besting economists'
call for 428,000 claims. The four-week average also fell to the
lowest level since 2008. Also, new data from the Federal Reserve
showed that household debt fell at an annual rate of 1.75% in the
third quarter to $13.4 trillion, according to MarketWatch.
In company-specific news:
Shares of Teva Pharmaceuticals (
) are higher after the company said it expects its treatment for
multiple sclerosis to receive approval from U.S. health regulators
within two years after a clinical trial met its goal, according to
Shares of Compellent (
) and Dell (
) are mixed in regular-session trading afer the companies said they
are in advanced discussions regarding a possible business
combination involving the two companies. Earlier this year, Dell
lost out to Hewlett-Packard (
) in a bidding war for storage firm 3Par. Dell and Compellent have
entered into an exclusive agreement to negotiate a merger in which
Dell would acquire all of the outstanding common stock of
Compellent at a price of $27.50 per share in cash.
Sportswear retailer luluemon athletica (
) is higher after it reported a 72% jump in profits to $96.8
million and a 56% increase in revenues in fiscal Q3. It said it
expects Q4 revenues should range between $210 million to $215
million and a comp-stores increase in the high teens. Earnings per
share should be in the range of $0.46 to $0.48.
State Street (STT) is down after it said it will post a Q4 loss
due to sales of $11 billion of securities, but the sales will
enhance its capital ratios. The company said it would record an
after-tax loss of $350 million for the quarter, but operating
earnings are still expected to top year-earlier results. State
Street plans to sell $11 billion of U.S. non-agency mortgage-backed
securities and asset-backed securities and non-U.S. mortgage-backed
and asset-backed securities.
Shares of Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) are higher after the company
said that talk-show host Howard Stern is staying for five more
years. Stern's show will run through 2015. Under the deal, Sirius
can reportedly transmit Stern's programming to mobile devices.
Breast cancer drugs from Pfizer (PFE), AstraZeneca (AZN), and
Novartis (NVS) increase risks to the heart, according to a study as
reported by Bloomberg. The trial found that women are 26% more
likely to develop heart disease than an older therapy. The drugs
are Pfizer's Aromasin, AstraZeneca's Arimidex, and Novartis'
ADRs of Infineon Technologies (IFNNY) are down even as CEO Peter
Bauer said the company's sales target for the current fiscal year
may be "conservative," Bloomberg reported. Infineon's chips are
used in cars, mobile phones and other electronics.
Shares of Devon Energy Corp (DVN) are down after saying
yesterday that capacity problems on Enbridge Inc (ENB) pipelines
connecting Canada with U.S. refiners were having "a meaningful
impact" on its heavy oil operations. Enbridge acknowledges some
shippers have experienced disruptions while space is created in
receiving tanks although a spokeswoman told Bloomberg it expects to
meet apportioned nominations by month s end.
Shares of Jackson Hewitt (JTX) are sharply higher in the regular
session after the company said in a SEC filing it entered into a
program agreement with Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) for
TPG to be the assisted refund provider at certain JTX Service
locations for the 2011 tax season. The agreement is for the 2011
tax season. It says it believes that it has now secured 100%
assisted refund coverage for the 2011 tax season.
Commodities are mixed as February gold contracts are up $7, or
0.51%, to $1,390 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down
0.02%, or $0.02, at $88.26 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.21%
to $37.88 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
2.54% to $6.14.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.59% to
$135.58. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.05% to $61.23.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.34% to $28.07.