Stocks Rebound, Turn Just Higher, Following Mixed Economic Data

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Stocks have shaken off a mid-morning swoon, with the major indexes positive at mid-day, after several economic reports painted a mixed picture of the economy. While jobless claims were down for the week, sales of existing homes fell last month, showing the housing market is still struggling. The Philly Fed for April also fell.

In the latest employment data, the number of jobless U.S. workers who filed new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 409,000 last week from an upwardly revised 438,000 in the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to decline to a seasonally adjusted 424,000. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, climbed 1,250 to 439,000, remaining at the highest level since November.

Meanwhile, sales of existing single-family homes and condos fell 0.8% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units, the National Association of Realtors said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected sales to rise to 5.25 million units in April, based on a surge in pending home sales in March.


Also, the April Philly Fed index fell 0.3%, the first decline since June. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the index to show no growth in April. The index sank to 3.9 in May from 18.5 in April, well below expectations of an increase to 20.1.

In company news:

Shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific ( TMO ) are higher after the company announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Phadia, a global leader in allergy and autoimmunity diagnostics, from European private equity firm Cinven, for b ,2.47 billion (or approximately $3.5 billion) in cash. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011, is expected to be immediately accretive to Thermo Fisher's adjusted earnings per share and accretive by $0.26 to $0.30 per share in 2012.

Big Lots ( BIG ) is down out of the gate, after the WSJ reports that it has decided against selling itself after bids from private equity firms did not meet the discount retailer's expectations. The buyers were not willing to increase their offers partly because of concerns of the company's growth prospects, the WSJ said.

Shares of PURE Bioscience (PURE) are surging over 20% after the company said preliminary in vitro laboratory results demonstrated SDC's effectiveness against biofilm in tests conducted by the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.

Shares of LinkedIn (LNKD) have nearly doubled on the first day of trading for the professional networking site, harkening back to the big IPOs of the dot-com boom in the late '90s. LinkedIn's initial public offering of 7,840,000 shares of common stock was price to the public at $45.00 per share. Of those issues 4,827,804 shares were offered by LinkedIn, and 3,012,196 shares are being offered by selling stockholders.

Shares of UBS AG ( UBS ) are higher after Robert J. McCann, head of wealth management Americas division for UBS, told Bloomberg that the wealth management business in the US is an "important part" of the Swiss bank. McCann made the comments on a Bloomberg Television interview today to address rumors the bank was in talks to sell the unit to Wells Fargo ( WFC ). He reportedly said such rumors are not true.

In earnings news:

--Dollar Tree, Inc. ( DLTR ) reports adjusted Q1 EPS of $0.82 compared to $0.61 a year earlier and topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.75. Consolidated net sales were $1.55 billion, a 14.3% increase compared to $1.35 billion. The Street looked for $1.51 billion. Comparable store sales increased 7.1%, on top of a 6.5% increase for the first quarter 2010.

Commodities are down. June gold contracts are down 0.41%, to $1,490 an ounce while June crude oil contacts are down 1.61% to $98.49 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.91% to $39.14 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.20%, to $10.70.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.15% at $145.38. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.25% to $55.53. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.56% to $34.04.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BIG , DLTR , TMO , UBS , WFC

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