Stocks are trading higher at mid-day as the Standard & Poors
500 index rose to a fresh two-year high and other indexes also
logged gains. Stocks advanced following a deal between President
Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders that extends
Bush-era tax cuts for two more years.
On Monday evening, President Barack Obama detailed a tentative
deal with congressional Republicans to extend tax cuts up and down
the brackets for the next two years and renew unemployment benefits
for millions of people.
The news is largely moving the market in the absence of new
economic reports today.
Stocks in focus include Citigroup (
), which is up after the Treasury Department late Monday said it
had priced a public offering of around 2.4 billion shares of the
financial services giant's common stock at $4.35 per share. The
proceeds amount to $10.5 billion.
Also, Aetna Inc. (
) shares are just higher following news the health insurer made a
$500-million bid to acquire Medicity, a health information exchange
technology company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Meanwhile, Pfizer (
) shares are higher on a report that CEO Jeffery Kindler was pushed
out after he refused to name a head of operations as a part of an
accord by senior managers in September, Bloomberg reports. Kindler
reportedly quit hours before a special board meeting to discuss his
) unveiled its new Database.com service today in an effort to
diversify its lineup of business software. The move also puts the
company in a $21 billion database program market dominated by
), Reuters reported. Salesforce.com's traditional business is
software that helps companies manage their sales and marketing
Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX) shares are flat in the regular
session as the company told a U.S. Food and Drug Administration
panel that its Contrave weight-loss drug can help patients lose
weight safely, according to a Reuters report on the matter. The FDA
has rejected two diet drugs this year and will likely have hard
questions on the pills effect on blood pressure, pulse rates and
Shares of Barnes & Noble (BKS) are up after a Wall Street
Journal report said the bookstore chain likely won't be sold for
less than $20 a share. The report cited people familiar with the
matter. Eight to 10 private-equity firms are deciding whether to
submit second-round bids.
Meanwhile, The New York Times (NYT) is up after it says it
expects Q4 print advertising revenue to improve sequentially,
helping 2010 earnings top last year's. Print-advertising revenue in
Q4 will decline by about 4% compared with the year-earlier quarter,
the company said.
Bank of America (BAC) said that its repurposing of salespeople
to modify mortgages will put pressure on revenue, according to a
Bloomberg report, citing comments from CEO Brian Moynihan at an
investor conference. The bank reportedly modified about 25,000 home
loans in October, an increase of 52% from the prior month.
Google Inc. (GOOG) is up about 2% this morning after the online
search engine company reportedly started a new translation service
aimed at businesses that sell their products internationally.
Google Ads for Global Advertisers was designed to help companies
find customers in international markets, Google said in an e-mailed
statement to Bloomberg News. The program will be available in 43
languages. Separately, BMO Capital initiated coverage on the stock
with an "outperform" rating and a $700 target.
Wells Fargo Corp (WFC) is up on reports the bank intends to soon
increase its dividend and start share buybacks. "It's high time
that we provide a return on (shareholder) investment," said CEO
Shares of 3M (MMM) are down after the company issued guidance
that disappointed the Street. The company anticipates sales of $29
billion to $30.5 billion, 3M also expects that 2011 earnings will
be between $5.90 and $6.10 per share, which includes a $0.27 per
share year-on-year increase in pension expense. Excluding the 2011
pension expense increase, 2011 earnings are expected to be in the
range of $6.17 to $6.37 per share, an increase of 10 to 14 percent
versus 2010 estimated GAAP earnings levels. The mean analyst
estimate in the Thomson Reuters survey is for $6.20 per share on
$29.1 billion in sales.
Commodities are down. February gold contracts are down $1, or
0.1%, to $1,415 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down
0.45%, or $0.42, at $88.96 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.05%
to $38.20 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.3%
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.62%
to $138.25. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.92% to
$63.18. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.03% to $29.50.
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