Stocks have shaken off a wobbly start and established a
beachhead in positive territory, after all three major indexes
opened in the red following an interest rate move in China and a
key downgrade of debt for Portugal. Volume has been light during
the holiday-shortened week following the U.S. Independence Day
holiday, which is adding to volatility.
The People's Bank of China increased raise interest rates by a
quarter-point. It's the third increase to tame inflation. Also,
Moody's cut Portugal's credit rating to junk status on Tuesday,
downgrading the country's credit status by four notches, with a
negative outlook. The move weighed on banking shares domestically
and in Europe.
In company news:
Bank of America (
) shares are down after reports that a group of bond investors
declined a deal struck last week with larger investors who lost
money on securitized mortgages. The group reportedly has "serious
concerns about the secret, non-adversarial, and conflicted way in
which the proposed settlement was negotiated and about the fairness
of the terms of the proposed settlement," CNNMoney reported, citing
Shares of medical technology company Kinetic Concepts (
) are higher after Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the
matter, reported the company is in talks to go private in a
leveraged buyout deal. The company is reportedly talking about a
sale with a group consisting of two private equity firms in a deal
that could value the company at over $5 billion.
Shares of Apple Inc. (
) are higher after FBR analyst Craig Berger said he believes the
computer maker will likely unveil a new version of the iPad 2 this
year, bizjournals.com reported. Instead of calling it the iPad 2,
Berger wrote, it will be like an iPad 2 Plus with a higher
resolution screen. Also in Apple news, HTC Corp. agreed to purchase
S3 Graphics Co., giving it access to patents as it defends against
infringement lawsuits from Apple Inc, reports Bloomberg. HTC's
ownership of S3 Graphics could help it in its legal fight with
Apple, which sued the company last year for patent infringements.
S3 Graphics won a ruling against Apple last week.
Shares of Walt Disney Co. (
) are down after the media giant's CEO said that the owners of the
privately held Internet television company Hulu are "committed to
selling," the company, Bloomberg reported, citing comments at the
Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Hulu has been in
talks with a number of parties about a sale, reports have said.
Commodities are mixed. August gold contracts are up 1.14% to
$1,530 an ounce while August crude oil contacts are down 0.26% to
$96.60 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.03% to
$37.97 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 2.01%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (
) is up 0.99% at $149.09. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up
1.7% to $56.36. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.67% to
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