US Indexes Mixed to Lower as Wholesale Inventories Rise

By Staff,

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Stocks are mixed around the even mark at mid-day as new data showed a rise in wholesale inventories in February indicating that retail buyers may be curbing purchases. Adding to the mix were hawkish comments from the Dallas Federal Reserve president and ongoing concern following another strong earthquake in Japan.

February wholesale inventories rose 1%, matching the downwardly revised 1% gain in January, the Commerce Department reported. Sales by wholesalers fell 0.8% in February, while the inventory-to-sales ratio was 1.16, reports.

Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher lobbed criticism at the Fed's $600 billion bond-buying program. Fisher said the bank should look at "curtailing what remains of the program," according to The Wall Street Journal,

In company news:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( GS ) and Morgan Stanley ( MS ) said Friday they have increased the size of an accelerated bookbuilding offer to place a stake of up to 10.1% in Spanish travel company Amadeus IT Holding SA among qualified investors, Dow Jones Newswires reports. The move comes after both banks said late Thursday they planned to sell a stake of up to 6.7% on behalf of current Amadeus shareholders that they didn't identify.

NXP Semiconductors ( NXPI ) is seeing aggressive upside momentum, boosted by a Reuters report the company is in takeover talks with Intel ( INTC ). Qualcomm ( QCOM ) and Broadcom (BRCM) are also reportedly in talks with the company about a deal.

Expedia (EXPE) said its board has preliminarily approved a plan to separate Expedia, Inc. into two publicly traded companies. TripAdvisor, which will include the domestic and international operations associated with the TripAdvisor Media Group, which includes its flagship brand as well as 18 other travel media and advertising brands, and Expedia, Inc., which will continue to include the domestic and international operations of the company's travel transaction brands including,, eLong, Hotwire, Egencia, Expedia Affiliate Network, CruiseShipCenters, Venere, Classic Vacations and

Seadrill (SDRL) has through its affiliate, Sea Dragon de Mexico, settled a final agreement with Pemex Exploracion y Produccion (Pemex) for the provision of the ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig West Pegasus. The five-year assignment in Mexico has a fixed operating dayrate for the first two years, and the dayrate will be adjusted annually thereafter based on market conditions. Estimated contract value is approximately US$850 million (excluding mobilization fee) assuming a constant dayrate over the five year term.

Shares of Novartis (NVS) are higher in as Alcon (ACL) announced that its shareholders approved the merger of Alcon into Novartis AG at its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG) are lower and the consumer products maker announced later yesterday it is conducting a voluntary recall of ten shades of Clairol Natural Instincts in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Hercules Offshore (HERO) is down just over 8% in early trading after it said late Thursday it received a subpoena issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting the delivery of certain documents in connection with its investigation into possible violations of securities laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In earnings news:

--Seagate Technology (STX) is out with certain preliminary fiscal Q3 results. Seagate management expects to report revenue of approximately $2.7 billion, unit shipments of 49 million and gross margin as a percent of revenue near or slightly above the high-end of the original outlook range of 18-19%. The Street's revenue estimate is at $2.62 billion.

Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up $14, or 0.97%, to $1,473 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are up 1.29%, or $1.42, at $111.72 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.34% to $44.60 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down $0.04, or 0.3%, to $10.59.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.73% at $143.53. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 2.4% to $64.02. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.83% to $39.45.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: GS , INTC , MS , NXPI , QCOM

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