Stocks are mostly higher - though the Nasdaq is off - at the
session's half on concern that European debt talks are stalling,
capping gains from data showing new home sale last month rose more
than expected, although they were down year-over-year.
New home purchases increased by a greater amount than forecast
in September, rising 5.7% to 313,000, according to Bloomberg,
citing data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Economists had
expected a gain of 300,000, according to a poll by Bloomberg.
From Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to parliament
in Berlin Wednesday ahead of a vote on boosting the firepower of
the 440 billion euro ($612 billion) euro-zone rescue fund known as
the European Financial Stability Facility.
The German parliament is expected to back Merkel in the vote and
give her a mandate to negotiate a package of measures to tackle the
debt crisis at a summit of euro-zone leaders in Brussels this
evening, the Wall Street Journal reported.
At the summit, leaders are expected to announce details on
recapitalizing European banks, addressing Greece's debt burden and
boosting the EFSF, according to news reports.
In mid-day company news:
Biogen Idec (
) shares are higher after the company said that its BG-12 pill to
treat multiple sclerosis met its treatment goals in a study. The
results help to clear a path toward regulatory filings, MarketWatch
noted in a report.
Shares of IBM (
) have lost their early upside after the company said late
yesterday that it promoted Virginia M. Rometty as president and
chief executive officer. Rometty is Big Blue's first female CEO.
Also this morning, IBM said it closed completed the acquisition of
Q1 Labs Inc., a privately-held company based in Waltham, Mass.
Shares of MetLife (
) are down after regulators blocked the life insurance company from
raising its dividend, several media outlets report. Shares are down
3.69%, or $1.24, to $31.59. The Federal Reserve had made the move
citing the a more stringent stress test to be conducted in 2012,
Reuters noted in a report on the matter.
) shares are down after the U.S. oil major reported EPS excluding
certain items of $2.52 compared to the Street view, usually ex
items, of $2.18. While the profit beat forecast, charges from asset
sale losses sunk profit 16% from a year ago, the Wall Street
Also, the Energy Information Administration reported that crude
supplies rose 4.7 million barrels compared with analysts' call for
a modest 200,000-barrel increase, according to Platts, the Energy
information arm of McGraw-Hill.
Gasoline inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels and distillate
inventories fell by 4.3 million barrels. Analysts were looking for
gasoline stockpiles to fall 1.25 million barrels, and distillates
to fall 1.5 million, according to Platt's
Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are up 1.19% to
$1,721 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are down 1.75% to
$91.55 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (
) is down 1.48% to $35.27 and the United States Natural Gas fund
(UNG) is down 1.41%, to $8.72.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1% to
$167.25. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.21% to $57.57.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.34% to $32.54.
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