Stocks are higher, with the major indexes up 2% to 3% at
mid-day, following a decline in the weekly unemployment claims
below 400,000. Still, an unexpected rise in the trade gap raises
question about U.S. economic activity. Also, investors remain
concerned over the ongoing fiscal crisis in the European Union.
In a mixed bag of early data, weekly jobless claims fell, taking
the four-week moving average to 405,000, the lowest since
mid-April. The trade deficit unexpectedly gained in June and
suggests a downward revision to second-quarter GDP growth from the
initial estimate of a 1.3% annual rate.
In company news:
) upbeat earnings are helping to stabilize the tech sector. CSCO is
up 16.6% after beating with adjusted earnings and revenue, plus
guiding above the Street view in its release late Wednesday. Cisco
earned at least a few analyst upgrades this morning. Advanced Auto
) also is up after better-than-expected Q2 earnings.
Shares of Gilead Sciences (
) are seeing firm support, after the company said the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration approved Complera, a single-tablet regimen for
the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Still, an Associated Press report
this morning reports that expectations are low for the new
once-per-day HIV treatment due to an increased rate of virologic
failure seen in late-stage testing and doctors placed it as their
third choice, according to the report.
Shares of Bank of America (
) are higher after Reuters reported that the bank may sell its
stake in China Construction Bank. Bank of America has reportedly
held talks with investment funds in Kuwait and Qatar about the
matter, the report says.
Shares of Google (
) are higher, while The Wall Street Journal reports that a Federal
Trade Commission investigation is beginning to focus on whether the
Internet giant keeps makers of Android operating system smartphones
from using competitors' services. The article cites "people
familiar with the probe." Further, investigators are querying
whether Google give preferential placement to its own products on
As part of its efforts to de-leverage the company, Liz Claiborne
(LIZ) today announced it has sold the trademarks for the Curve
fragrance brands and selected other smaller fragrance brands to
Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) for $58.4 million in cash.
Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) are higher after shares were halted
briefly. According to MarketWatch, the Nasdaq said the oil
refiner's shares took a five minute break from trading. The report
questioned whether a trading glitch was responsible/ FactSet
reported that there was a trade of $63.47, which would have been a
near 7% drop in the stock.
Commodities are MIXED as December gold contracts are down 1.2%
to $1,763 an ounce while September crude oil contacts are up 0.23%
to $83.09 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.76% to
$32.35 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.77%, to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1.72%
at $171.57. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.47% to $59.58.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.81% to $37.75.