Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading as investors await the
monetary policy announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee
due at 12:30 PM EST.
U.S. orders for durable goods rose 2.5% in March, marking the
third straight increase, though shy of expectations for a 3% gain.
Orders for February were also revised to show a 0.7% increase
instead of an originally reported decline, according to Commerce
Department data. Factoring out the volatile transportation sector,
orders rose a smaller 1.3%. Shipments of core capital equipment
goods, which the government uses to help calculate gross domestic
product, climbed 2.2% in March after just a 0.4% gain in February
and a 2.5% decline in January, MarketWatch reported.
The Fed is widely expected to continue its policy of targeting a
federal-funds rate between 0% and 0.25% and its purchase of $600
billion of government debt by the end of June. But markets want
some clue on how long such accommodative policy will remain in
place and the Fed's latest assessment of economic strength. The
Federal Open Market Committee will announce its decision in a
statement at 12:30 p.m. U.S. ET. The news conference is set for
In company news:
) shares are flat after Reuters reported that the bank is in the
process of moving executives to Brazil as a part of a push to boost
growth in emerging economies, citing comments from CEO Vikram
Pandit. In making a moves to encompass Brazil in its business, the
bank is trying to work into emerging markets to take advantage of
increased trade and capital flows, the report said.
Rite Aid (
) today announced that it has seen 0.5% increase in its same-store
sales for April. Front-end same-store sales slipped 0.4% while
pharmacy same-store sales, which included about a 133-basis-point
negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 1%.
Prescription count at comparable stores also increased 0.7% over
the prior-year period.
Johnson & Johnson (
) shares are higher as the company said entered into a definitive
agreement whereby Johnson & Johnson will acquire Synthes for
$21.3 billion. Upon completion of this transaction, Synthes and the
DePuy Companies of Johnson & Johnson together will comprise the
largest business within the Medical Devices and Diagnostics segment
of Johnson & Johnson.
Apple Inc. (
) shares are down after it said this morning that iPhone customers
are not being tracked and planned to add software that collects
less sensitive location data. "Apple is not tracking the location
of your iPhone," the company said in a statement today. "Apple has
never done so and has no plans to ever do so."
In earnings news:
) today announced that first quarter earnings increased 43% due to
higher oil prices, sending adjusted net income up to $2.6 billion,
or $1.82 per share, compared with adjusted earnings of $2.2
billion, or $1.47 per share, for the same period in 2010. Revenue
also grew 27% to $58.25 billion. Analysts had expected the company
to earn $1.93 per share, ex special items, according to FactSet.
Analysts also expected revenues of $53.4 billion.
--Barclays (BCS) said Q1 net profit fell 5% to 1 billion pounds
($1.65 billion), from the period a year earlier. Top-line revenue
fell 8% to 7.4 billion pounds.
--Martha Stewart Living (MSO) today reported a wider Q1
operating loss of $6.8 million or $0.13 loss per share, compared
with $3.4 million or $0.07 loss per share for the same period in
2010. Quarterly revenues fell 0.9% year-over-year to $52.7 million
from $53.2 million. Analysts had expected the company to post a
loss of $0.12 per share on revenues of $$49.1 million, according to
the Thomson Reuters consensus poll.
Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up 0.39%, to
$1,509 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are up 0.47% to
$112.74 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.47 to
$44.69 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.35%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.42% at
$146.99. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.66% to $59.82.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.27% to $44.15.