Stocks are extending losses at mid-day, with each of the major
indexes down near 3% as investors react to a sell-off in Europe,
while weak domestic retail sales and overall concern about the U.S.
economy, which many experts believe has stalled. European markets
plunged and Asian markets closed mixed as the market braces for the
key government nonfarm payrolls report due tomorrow.
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits
edged down by 1,000 last week to 400,000, the Labor Department
said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected new requests
for benefits around that level. The average of new claims over the
last four weeks, viewed as a more accurate gauge of the trend,
declined by 6,750 to 407,750, the lowest level since mid-April.
European markets gave up early gains to end lower Thursday as
sovereign debt worries continue to hang over the region. The Bank
of England and the European Central Bank left their respective
interest rates and other policy positions unchanged, as expected.
Global markets are now closely listening for comments on the debt
situation and economic growth. ECB chief Trichet is saying in
recent remarks that downside risks may have intensified though he
does expect ongoing economic growth and stresses that officials are
closely watching bank liquidity.
In company news:
Shares of Kraft Foods (
) are up after the company beat earnings beat estimates, and the
company said it would split itself into two listed companies. Kraft
reports Q2 EPS of $0.55 compared to $0.53 a year earlier and
operating EPS of $0.62. The Street looked for $0.58. Revenue grew
13% to $13.88 billion, about in line. Kraft lifted its outlook for
organic net revenue growth for the year to at least 5% from at
least 4% and also raised its operating earnings forecast to at
least $2.25 a share from at least $2.20 a share.
Analysts had been expecting operating earnings for the year of
$2.23 a share. Kraft said will break the company into two units,
separating its global snacks brands into a standalone company while
the other would be a grocery specialist focused on food and
ADRs of Sony Corp. (
) are down after Bloomberg reported that the electronics giant is
planning to start sales of the PlayStation Vita portable player in
Europe and the U.S. next year, after the all-important holiday
shopping season. The product launch in Japan will be before the end
of December while Europe and the U.S. are coming early next year.
The holiday shopping season is considered key for the success of
consumer electronics sales.
Bank of New York Mellon (
) shares are down after The Wall Street Journal reported that it is
preparing to charge large depositors to hold cash. The report
characterized the move as the latest sign of concerns seeping
through global markets. In a note to customers last week, the bank
said it will start levying a fee on customers who have boosted
their deposit balances.
Shares of Novavax (
) are down despite positive study results on the company's A/H1N1
virus-like-particle pandemic influenza vaccine candidate in the
journal Vaccine. Single administrations of the VLP vaccine induced
high levels of HAI titers in subjects without pre-existing
detectable immunity to the pandemic strain. Overall, the data
indicated that NVAX's H1N1 VLP vaccine was well-tolerated and
In the latest earnings news:
--CVS Caremark (
) reports Q2 EPS of $0.60, in line with the per-share result from a
year ago and shy of the Street view for $0.64. Revenue rose to
$26.63 billion from $24 billion. The Street expected $26.76
--Shares of Transocean (RIG) are down sharply after the company
said Q2 revenue was $2.334 billion, down from $2.479 billion in the
year ago quarter. EPS was $0.48, down from $2.22 per share in the
year ago quarter. According to an analyst survey by FactSet, net
income was expected to be $0.80 on revenue of $2.33 billion.
--Shares of Prudential Financial (PRU) have downshifted from
pre-market gainsafter it reported its Q2 figures. The company said
Q2 EPS was $1.71, which beats by $0.16. Revenue increased 32% from
the previous year period to $10.2 billion, which beats by $540
Commodities are mixed. December gold contracts are up 0.56% to
$1,676 an ounce, while September crude oil contacts are down 2.65%
to $89.49 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 2.87%
to $34.83 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
3.38%, to $9.99.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.52% at
$162.35. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 4.02% to $56.82.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.27% to $39.59.