Stocks are higher in mid-day trading as crude oil futures jump
to trade above $100 a barrel and the broader market turns a corner
after two straight days of steep losses. Better-than-expected
employment figures are providing support.
In the latest economic news, new applications for unemployment
benefits declined last week by 16,000 to 385,000, according to new
data from the US Labor Department. Economists polled by MarketWatch
had expected first-time claims to fall to 389,000, the news outlet
In company news:
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice
Department have focused an investigation into possible manipulation
of the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, by three banks,
Bank of America Corp. (
), Citigroup (
), and UBS (
), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
) is up near 1%, although selling has moved it off its early high
of $63.96, after announcing this morning that it is raising prices
on a range of products, including diapers and bathroom tissue. The
price increases will come in the second and third quarters due to
higher raw materials costs, the company said. Colgate-Palmolive Co.
) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) have also said they are likely
to boost their prices, according to the AP.
Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) has received 510(k) marketing
clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and has
begun a limited market release for the Stealth 360B0 Orbital PAD
System. Shares are unchanged in pre-market trading.
AstraZeneca (AZN) is defending its best-selling heartburn and
stomach ulcer medication Nexium in court in France, Reuters
reports. Two units of Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Ethyphram--a
French firm--are challenging patents protecting the drug, the
In earnings news:
--FedEx (FDX) reports Q3 EPS of $0.81, a penny shy of the
analyst consensus on Thomson Reuters. Revenue was $9.66 bln, vs.
expectations of $9.61 bln. FedEx projects earnings to be $1.66 to
$1.83 per diluted share in the fourth quarter and an adjusted $4.83
to $5.00 per diluted share for fiscal 2011. The Street is at $1.65
per share for Q4 and $4.87 per share for FY 2011.
--lululemon (LULU) reports Q4 revenue of $245.4 mln, better than
the analyst consensus of $239 mln on Thomson Reuters. Earnings were
$0.64, vs. expectations of $0.57 per share. For Q1, the company
sees revenue in the range of $175 to $180 mln and EPS of $0.36 to
$0.38 per share. The Street view is $181 mln in revenue and
earnings of $0.36 per share. lululemon is down 2.1%
--China Valves Technology (CVVT) said late Wednesday Q4 sales
were $52.3 million, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $44.1
million. It earned an adjusted $0.12 per share, below estimates for
$0.31. It targets 25%-28% revenue growth for 2011 excluding any
--Ross Stores (ROST) says EPS were $1.37 in Q4, meeting the
Thomson Reuters mean. Sales were $2.145 billion, more than
estimates for $2.12307 billion.
--Guess? (GES) is down sharply after it reported late Wednesday
Q4 EPS of $1.11 on revenue of $757 million. The Street view is for
$1.06 per share in earnings on sales of $725.90 million.
Commodities are higher. April gold contracts are up $5, or
0.32%, to $1,401 an ounce while April crude oil contacts are up
2.5%, or $2.45, at $100.38 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 2.35% to
$40.61 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up $0.48, or
4.54%, to $10.99.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.36% to
$136.73. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.62% to $55.58.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.39% to $33.50.