Stocks Pare Early Gains as Europe Weighs, Commodities Fall on Mixed Economic Data

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Stocks are mixed in mid-day trading as uncertainty surrounding the euro-zone re-emerged and investors weighed whether a long-term solution to the sovereign debt problem is at hand or not. A decline in durable goods orders - a leading indicator - also weighed on investor sentiment, although mortgage applications ticked higher.

U.S. orders for durable goods dipped 0.1% in August as demand fell for primary metals, motor vehicles and large defense products excluding aircraft, the Commerce Department said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected orders to rise by 0.4%. The closely followed core capital orders reading, which gives a better read on trends in the private sector, rose 1.1%; economists expected a decline. In addition, shipments of core capital equipment goods, which the government uses to help calculate gross domestic product, rose 2.8% last month. Orders for July, which rose 4.1%, were unchanged.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, rose 9.3% for the week ended Sept 23. The refinancing applications index rose 11.2%, while home purchase applications rose 2.6%.

Investors are awaiting parliamentary votes on proposed changes to the euro-zone bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility. Finland's parliament voted in favor of the changes today. Germany's Bundestag will vote on Thursday, MarketWatch reports.

In the commodities space, crude oil futures fell Wednesday after a two-day rally that moved the lead contract back above $80 a barrel. November futures are off 0.4% to $84.15 a barrel in electronic trading. On Tuesday, crude posted its biggest one-day gain in four months.

In company news:

Shares of Merck and Sanofi-Aventis are higher after Bloomberg reported the two companies' cervical-cancer vaccine is more cost effective than a competing drug from GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK ). The report cites researchers from the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency.

Shares of Chevron ( CVX ) are higher after Reuters reported that the U.S. oil major said it had resumed operations on its Main Pass crude oil gathering system in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast. The system had been shut down earlier this month after the discovery of a leak.

Tyson Foods ( TSN ) shares are down after the food products maker said late Tuesday that it is recalling about 131,300 pounds of ground beef over worries it may be contaminated with e.coli, according to a MarketWatch report.

Shares of Amazon ( AMZN ) are higher after the company unveiled its tablet computer. The 7-inch device will run a version of Android and will retail at $199, according to Bloomberg.

Imperial Holdings Inc. ( IFT ) has shed nearly two-thirds of its market value after analysts socked the company with downgrades on the heels of an FBI raid on the company's Boca Raton, Fla., offices as part of a federal investigation.

The company revealed the raid and federal search warrant in a statement and said the investigation is related to its life finance business. It said its structured settlement business is not affected. Chairman and CEO Antony Mitchell and President and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neuman were also identified as targets of the investigation.

Commodities are down. December gold contracts are down 0.86% to $1,638 an ounce while November crude oil contacts are down 1.81% to $82.94 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.27% to $31.97 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 0.95%, to $9.42.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.15% to $158.78. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 1.26% to $56.40. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 4.3% to $29.83.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AMZN , CVX , GSK , IFT , TSN

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