Stocks are logging gains in mid-day trading as Americans head to
the polls in an election expected to result in a Republican
power-shift in Congress of at least one legislative chamber. Also,
investors are eying the U.S. Federal Reserve, which began a two-day
meeting today and is expected to announce monthly asset purchases
of around $100 billion over the next six months to spur the
Merger and acquisition activity also continued today, buoying
In the latest round of M&A news, Oracle Corp. (
) is higher after announcing that it has agreed to buy Art
Technology Group Inc. (
) for $1 billion in cash. The $6-per-share purchase price is a 46%
premium over Art Technology's closing price on Monday. Shares have
soared by a near equal 45%, up $1.86 at $5.96 in morning trading.
The deal needs shareholder and regulatory approval, and Oracle
expects to close early next year.
Meanwhile, in bid to increase its stake in motion-sensing
technology, Microsoft (
) acquired Canesta, a company that designs microchips that enable
computers to see images in three dimensions, Reuters reported. The
purchase of the privately-held Canesta comes as the software giant
is looking to launch its Kinect motion-controller next month in an
effort to spark sales of its XBox video-game console, the report
BHP Billiton (
) shares are just higher on market buzz that its bid for Potash (
) was rejected, according to a Reuters report. BHP was not
available for comment, the report said. No decision was made by
Canadian officials about whether the $39 billion bid for Potash
should go forward, but news reports indicated that bearuacrats in
that country were advising that it should proceed.
Dell Inc (
) is higher on news the computer maker is expected to announce the
purchase of a cloud computer company later today. CEO Michael Dell
also reportedly said at a Hong Kong event that the company will
bolster its tablet computer line to compete head-on with rivals
such as Apple (
Ronald Kruszewski, Stifel Financial Corp. (
) chief executive, said that the midterm elections could assist
financial markets and the U.S. economy if spending gets reigned it,
Reuters reports. Such assistance is particularly important for
Stifel, the report said, noting it is a midd-market investment bank
that underwrites stock offerings and manages money for individual
In the latest earnings news:
) is down in regular-session trading. The drug giant reported Q3
adjusted EPS of $0.54 compared to $0.51 a year earlier and topping
the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.51. Revenue of
$16.2 billion is up 39% from $11.6 billion a year earlier. The
Street expected $16.68 billion. The company is increasing its 2010
adjusted diluted EPS guidance to a range of $2.17 to $2.22 from a
range of $2.10 to $2.20. The Street is at $2.22.
) is higher after reporting a 67% drop in third-quarter net profit
due to another $7.7 billion of charges from the Gulf of Mexico oil
spill. Adjusted underlying profit, however, beat consensus
forecasts, MarketWatch reported.
--Medco Health Solutions (
) is up 9% after the company reported positive third quarter
earnings and adjusted its full-year earnings guidance. Medco
reported Q3 adjusted EPS of $0.91 compared to $0.75 a year earlier
and topping the Street view for $0.88. Revenue reached $16.32
billion from $14.79 billion.
) is lower after a slowdown in cereal sales in the third quarter
hurt the company's bottom line. Kellogg has struggled after 28
million boxes of Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Honey Smacks, and Corn
Pops were recalled in June. The four brands are seen to make up
about 16% of the company's total cereal sales.
--Shares of NYSE Euronext (
) are lower in regular-session trading as the exchange said that
its third-quarter profit dropped 12% as a global slowdown in
trading hit. According to a Reuters report, NYSE Euronext
management said that trading during the quarter was unusually
quiet, a trend that is unlikely to continue into the next year.
Commodities are higher. December gold contracts are up $2, or
0.12%, to $1,352 an ounce while December crude contacts are up
0.99%, or $0.81, at $83.76 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (
) is up 1.03% to $36.18 and the United States Natural Gas fund (
) is up 1.45% to $5.60.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (
) is up 0.18% to $132.16. Market Vectors Gold Miners (
) is up 0.54% to $57.55. iShares Silver Trust (
) is up 0.50% to $24.20.