Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading as a downbeat assessment of
the U.S. employment picture from the Federal Reserve and continued
worries about the possibility of a Greek default combined to weigh
on investor sentiment for the second session in a row. Still,
better-than-expected factor orders provided somewhat of a floor on
Factory orders fell 0.2% to $451 billion in August, the Commerce
Department reported. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected
a 0.3% drop. July's gain was revised lower to a 2.1% gain from an
initially reported 2.4% gain. In August, shipments fell 0.2%,
unfilled orders rose 0.9% and inventories increased 0.4%.
Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before
the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, said "recent indictors,
including new claims for unemployment insurance and surveys of
hiring plans, point to the likelihood of more sluggish job growth
in the period ahead." The comments come ahead of the all-important
non-farm payroll report for September, which is due Friday.
U.S. stocks followed declines in Europe, which fell after
euro-zone finance ministers signaled last night that they will take
a decision on whether to disburse more aid to Greece later in
October than previously suggested, MarketWatch reported.
The ministers also indicated that private bondholders may have
to take bigger losses on debt holdings as part of the second Greek
bailout. The news -- which came after the Greek government admitted
Sunday that it won't meet its deficit-reduction targets -- only
served to escalate worries that Greece may default on its
In company news:
Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (
) are maintaining some gains after it announced late yesterday that
after a meeting with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
relating to the over-the-counter (OTC) development program for
Silenor, the FDA provided clinical and regulatory guidance that the
company believes provides a clear path forward toward an OTC
version of Silenor.
Bank of America (
) shares hit yet another 52-week low as President Obama derided the
bank's move to charge consumers a $5 fee to use a debit card for
purchases, according to a CNBC report. "This is exactly why we need
this Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that we set up that is
ready to go," President Obama is quoted as saying.
Shares of Ford Motor Co. (
) are building on prior-session declines despite news this morning
that the automaker reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year
contract with the United Auto Workers, the Associated Press
reports. The union has planned a press conference to disclose some
details of the pact later on Tuesday. The UAW's union leaders plan
to vote on the contract, covering 41,000 of Ford's workers.
) shares are firm amid continued takeover discussions involving the
company. Bloomberg News is reporting that Alibaba Group, private
equity firm Silver Lake Partners, and Russian venture company
Digital Sky Technologies are in talks for a joint bid for
Shares of Kohl's (
) are higher as the company said it anticipates hiring more than
40,000 associates nationwide this holiday season, up approximately
5% from last year due to store growth in 2011. In addition, the
company anticipates hiring approximately 2,500 seasonal positions
at distribution centers and more than 500 seasonal and full time
credit operations positions.
State Street is down after it announced today that it has
acquired Complementa Investment-Controlling AG, an investment
performance measurement and analytics firm based in St. Gallen,
Commodities are down. December gold contracts are down 2.14% to
$1,621 an ounce while November crude oil contacts are down 0.64% to
$77.02 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.01% to
$30.04 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.73%, to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.8%
to $158.07. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 3.73% to
$52.42. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.39% to $29.11.