Stocks are rallying in mid-day trading as all 30 Dow Jones
Industrial Average components gain on new data that showed
manufacturing and construction spending expanding although the
former disappointed analysts.
In the latest economic data, the Institute for Supply Management
said its index of factory activity rose to 57 in December from 56.6
in November. Economists polled by Marketwatch.com, however,
expected the index to reach 57.5.
Meanwhile, November construction spending posted the third
straight monthly gain, according to the Commerce Department, rising
by 0.4%, ahead of analysts' consensus call for a 0.2% gain. But the
level of spending is still down 6% compared with a year
In the latest company news:
Google Inc. (
) is gathering publisher support for a digital newsstand for users
of devices that run its Android software, the Wall Street Journal
reports. That would be a direct challenge to Apple's (
) offering via its iTunes stores.
Meanwhile, Apple's market capitalization topped $300 billion
this morning in what Fortune magazine called an important
psychological barrier for the stock. Apple has been the most
valuable tech stock and has been the world's second most valuable
company after Exxon Mobil (
), which has a market cap of $375 billion.
Johnson & Johnson (
) is sharply higher early Monday with the health care giant
expected to announce later today it is joining forces with
Boston-area scientists to market an ultra-sensitive blood-test for
cancer, according to the Associated Press.
Bank of America (
) is higher after announcing this morning that it will take a $2
billion charge against Q4 earnings to settle buyback claims on home
loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank also expects to
take a $3 billion provision to repurchase obligations.
Barnes & Noble (BKS) is firmer after it says preliminary
bookstore holiday comparable store sales were 9.7% for the
nine-week period ending Jan. 1. It says it had its largest retail
sales day ever in the company's nearly 40-year history on Dec.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals (ISPH) has lost nearly two-thirds of its
value after it announced the top-line results from its second Phase
3 clinical trial, TIGER-2, with denufosol tetrasodium for the
treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). The trial did not achieve
statistical significance for its primary efficacy endpoint, which
was change from baseline in FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume in One
Second) at the Week 48 Endpoint (48 weeks or last observation
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares are higher following a Bloomberg
report saying the bank kept its place as the top underwriter of
U.S. investment-grade corporate bonds. The bank managed 13.8% of
new issues with $101.6 billion in offerings in 496 deals.
The Clorox Co. (CLX) announced fiscal Q2 estimates that were
sharply below the Street, led by a decline in sales of 3% to 4%
versus the prior year quarter. For the year, it sees sales between
flat to 1% higher. The company also announced a noncash goodwill
impairment charge to adjust the carrying value of the goodwill
related to its acquisition of Burt's Bees to estimated fair
Shares of Medco Health Solutions (MHS) are higher after the
company said this morning that does not see a material effect on
its financials from the loss of a Medicare drug contract with
Universal American Corp. (UAM). The company said this morning that
it has received notice of termination, effective December 31, 2011,
of its Medicare Part D prescription benefits management agreement
with MemberHealth, LLC, a subsidiary of Universal American.
Magic Software (MGIC) are higher after saying Senoglu Yazilim A
S will distribute MGIC's products to new customers and partners
throughout Turkey. Senoglu Yazilim commits a minimum of $700,000
over the next three years to distribute MGIC's products through
Exxon Mobil (
) shut down an oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of
Mexico because of a small leak, Reuters reported, citing a filing
with the U.S. National Response Center. The leak is characterized
as a pinhole leak in a fuel scrubber that led to the discharge of
about five gallons of natural gas into the Gulf.
Commodities are mixed. February gold contracts are down $3, or
0.2%, to $1,418 an ounce while February crude oil contacts are up
0.97%, or $0.89, at $92.26 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.77% to
$39.30 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 4.48% to
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.26%
to $138.36. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.6% to
$61.10. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.2% to $30.24.