Stocks are trading lower at mid-day, paring back gains from a
positive start in thin trading between the Christmas and New Year's
Investors were heartened this morning as an improved auction of
Italian debt eased the immediate concerns over borrowing costs in
Europe. The Italian Treasury on Wednesday sold 9 billion euros
($11.8 billion) of six-month bills, with yields dropping sharply
from levels seen at a November auction, news reports said. The sale
produced an average yield of 3.25%, reports said, down from 6.50%
in a November auction. Bids exceeded supply 1.7 times, up from 1.5
times in November.
However, these gains were soon erased as investors seemed to
shift focus to what many expect will be a difficult start to
Also weighing on sentiment was a European Central Bank (ECB)
press release out today showing it increased its footings to 2.73
trillion euros ($3.57 trillion) as of 23rd December - a more than
10% bump in assets in a week. This comes on top of an 87%
annualized expansion over the past 3 months. The European single
currency fell below the $1.30 threshold on the news, and is yet to
make a comeback.
In company news:
BOS Better OnLine Solutions (
) is up 23% after the company announced that its Supply Chain
division has been selected to provide components to a manufacturer
of customized LCD displays for the automotive industry. The
contract, valued at $2.5 million, will have supply and revenues
that will be spread over the 3-year period of 2013-2014.
) is down 12% and has hit a new year low a day after reports
circulated that China's Ministry of Commerce will not change its
rare earth export quotas for 2012. The 2012 export quota will be
Commodities are lower. February gold contracts are down $28.80
to $1,566.70 an ounce, while February crude oil contracts are down
$1.78 to $99.56 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (
) is down 1.64% to $38.42 and the United States Natural Gas fund (
) is up 0.15%, to $6.84.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (
) is down 1.67% to $152.32. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is
down 3.01% to $50.34, touching year lows of $50.07. iShares Silver
Trust (SLV) is down 4.70% to $26.57.