Better-than-expected economic data has lifted positive sentiment
for stocks into Thursday's afternoon session. The government
reported a 5-year low for weekly jobless claims in the last week
while The Census Bureau reported a 21.1% increase in home building
vs. the previous month. But in corporate news, Bank of America (
) and Citigroup (
) are trading lower after reporting Q4 financial results this
morning and Boeing (
) continues to experience turbulence with its planes grounded.
According to the Labor Department, new applications for
unemployment benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 335,000 in the
week ended January 12. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast
claims would drop to 368,000. The average of new claims over the
past month fell by 6,750 to 359,250. Continuing claims increased by
87,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.21 million in the week ended
At the same time, the Commerce Department reported that December
housing starts jumped 12.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
954,000, their highest level since June 2008. Economists polled by
MarketWatch had expected U.S. housing starts would increase to
883,000. December building permits, a sign of future demand, rose
0.3% to a rate of 903,000, their highest since July 2008.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's regional
manufacturing gauge, which will be reported at 10 a.m. ET.
Economists expect the January reading to be 5, from 8.1 in
In corporate news, Boeing shares are down - although well above
day lows - after regulators in Europe, India and Japan backed the
Federal Aviation Administration's decision to ground all Dreamliner
planes on worries over onboard lithium-ion batteries that have
twice caught fire recently.
Bank of America (
) reported that its Q4 earnings declined year-over-year, but they
were above analyst estimates. Shares of BAC were down nearly 4%
mid-day, pulling back from early gains.
) reported Q4 results above year ago levels, but below analyst
estimates. Shares were down nearly 3% mid-day.
U.S. sectors were higher mid-day, with cons. cyclical up 1%,
trailed by conglomerates, capital goods, energy, healthcare and
services, all up more than 0.50%.
Commodities were mostly higher at mid-day. Crude oil for
February delivery was up $1.26 at $95.50 a barrel in electronic
trading. February natural gas was down $0.003 at $3.43 per 1
In metals, February gold futures were up $4.80 to $1,688. March
silver was up $0.103 at $31.64 per ounce in electronic trade. March
copper was up $0.046 at $3.65 per pound.
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) up 43.40 (+0.32%)
S&P 500 (^INX) up 7.03 (+0.48%) 1,479.37
Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC) up 22.02 (+0.71%) 3,132.80
NYSE Composite (^NYA) up 22.43 (+0.26%) 8,755.53
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.09%
Hang Seng Index down 0.07%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.06%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.41%
DAX up 0.50%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 5.12 (-0.10%) at
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) up 63.15 (+0.48%) at
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) up 52.96 (+0.64%) at
(+) CLW (+6.3%, has hit new 52-week high) Commenced a proposed
offering of $250 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes
due 2023. The company will use $163.9 million of the net proceeds
to redeem all of its outstanding 10.625% Senior Notes due 2016.
(+) EEI (+6%) Awarded approximately $39 million in contracts to
consult on the development of eco-cities and a large health care
complex for the China International Finance and Guarantee Group
with the backing of the Chinese government.
(+) ASML (+8.3%, has hit new 52-week high) Reported Q4 EPS of
EUR 0.65, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of EUR
0.43. Revenues were $1.023 billion, versus the analyst estimate of
$1.016 billion. The company expects Q1 net sales of EUR 850
million, versus the analyst estimate of EUR 1.11 billion.
(+) NLS (+12.4%, earlier hit new 52-week high) Said late
Wednesday that it expects to report net Q4 sales of approximately
$65 million, an increase of 8.4% compared to Q4 2011. Fully diluted
earnings per share from continuing operations are estimated to be
in the range of $0.21 - $0.23 for the period, compared to $0.11 per
share for the fourth quarter of 2011.
(+) JMBA (Now up 2.5%, as turned positive) Signed an exclusive
franchise development agreement with investor group ShowMe
Smoothie, LLC, to develop 15 Jamba Juice stores within Missouri and
Kansas over the next nine years.
(-) PWER (-8%, nearer 52-week low) Announced that it expects to
report fourth quarter 2012 revenue of $190 million to $195 million,
which is below the previously estimated range of $210 million to
$230 million. The company expects to report a net loss of $12
million to $15 million for the quarter due to lower than expected
gross margins resulting from the revenue shortfall and new product
(-) FET (-7.5%) Lowered its full year 2012 earnings guidance. It
now expects earnings per diluted share of $1.72 to $1.74, below its
previous guidance range of $1.83 to $1.88.
(-) AVEO (-4.7%) Announced underwritten public offering of
6,667,000 shares of its common stock at a price of $7.50 per share
to the public.