Stocks Shake Off Morning Swoon, Turn Positive as Bargain Hunters Step In

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Stocks have stabilized from early declines and are now in positive territory at mid-day as bargain hunters step in and European ministers appear to be making progress on sovereign debt talks. With no economic reports on the calendar for the day, the sovereign debt crisis is holding center stage.

A statement late yesterday from the Group of 20 said authorities would work in a coordinated fashion to put an end to Europe's ongoing crisis. The unified voice appeared to calm markets somewhat, clearing the way for bargain hunters to snap up oversold stocks.

European parliaments will continue to work toward implementation of the plan agreed to by euro-zone leaders on July 21 to give the European Financial Stability Facility more power to intervene in bond markets and to aid governments and troubled banks, according to news reports.

In company news:

ADRs of Bayer AG ( BAYRY ) are higher after Bloomberg reported the company's Xarelto drug won the support of a European drug advisory panel to use in patents with an irregular heartbeat. The development places the blood thinner medication in place to win approval, the report said.

Shares of Morgan Stanley ( MS ) are higher after Reuters reported that analysts said concerns about the bank's exposure to French banks are overblown and that the bank can mange the risk.

Oracle ( ORCL ) shares are higher as the company said it incurred $1.16 billion in damages from Google ( GOOG ) alleged copyright and patent violations of its Java technology, Reuters reported, citing a court filing, Google used Java technology in its Android mobile operating system.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) are down after the company recalled about 200,000 syringes of its Eprex anemia drug in 17 countries, including Canada and the U.K., MarketWatch reported. Internal testing revealed some batches of the drug were less potent than required to be effective, the company said.

Cracker Barrel (CBRL) shares are higher after the restaurant chain adopted a poison pill in response to complaints from its largest shareholder, Biglari Holdings. Biglari recently received clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act to acquire up to a 49.99% stake in Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel today announced a shareholder rights plan with a qualifying offer exception and declared a dividend distribution of one preferred share purchase right on each outstanding share of Cracker Barrel common stock.

Swiss bank UBS AG (UBS) is higher after its board extended its Singapore meeting another day to focus on its troubled investment bank and the fate of Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel. The bank has been reeling for more than a week after it was disclosed that an alleged "rogue trader" ran up $2.3 billion in trading losses on the bank's account without detection for almost four years. Critics say the incident raises broader questions about risk management at the bank.

Commodities are down. December gold contracts are down 4.69% to $1,660 an ounce while November crude oil contacts are down 0.68% to $79.95 a barrel. In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.42% to $31 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.05%, to $9.28.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 4.44% to $161.53. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 4.69% to $56.52. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 9.59% to $31.57.



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: BAYRY , GOOG , JNJ , MS , ORCL

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