U.S. stocks woke up on the wrong side of the bed Thursday as
ongoing uncertainty over the Cyprus bailout situation had market
participants hitting the sell button out of the gate. As morning
trading has progressed, however, mixed readings on jobs, home sales
and the Flash PMI have been enough to stimulate some moderate
buying interest, with the big three U.S. equity averages paring
their morning losses.
U.S. jobless claims were released at 8:30 a.m. ET, but provided
little influence on downward market momentum. Jobless claims for
the week ended March 16th rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted
336,000, a slightly better reading than the 340,000 claims
economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast. Meanwhile the
average number of new claims over the past month declined by 7,500
After the opening bell, February existing home sales came in at
4.98 million, the highest number since 2009, vs. the consensus
expectation of 5.01 million, while the January FHFA Price Index
rose 0.6%, vs. an estimated 0.7%. Neither number had much of an
impact on the market following their release, nor did the February
leading indicator figure of 94.8, up 0.5% vs. the forecast of
Equally benign was the March Philly Fed business outlook figure
which weighed in at up 2.0, better than an expected decline of 2.0,
and well above last month's -12.5 reading. The U.S. March Flash PMI
manufacturing figure was virtually in-line at 54.9, compared to the
Overseas, Cyprus remained cause for concern. Earlier, The
European Central Bank said it would suspend aid for the country's
banks if it does not come up with a bailout deal by next week. As a
result, European bourses were trading lower across the board. Asian
markets, however, were holding up well, trading mixed to
In individual stock news of notes, shares of Oracle (
) were under pressure, down 8.8% at $32.60, following the company's
Wednesday after-hours earnings release. Oracle reported Q3 earnings
of $0.65 per share, below the Capital IQ consensus of $0.66.
Revenues were $9 bln, also missing the analyst estimate of $9.37
Overall, commodity prices were mixed, with oil down $0.71, at
$92.79 a barrel. Natural gas continued its assault on the $4 mark,
up $0.016 to $3.976 per million BTUs.
Gold futures were up to $6.70 $1614.20 per ounce, while silver
was up $0.388, to $29.205 per ounce. Copper was down $0.008 to
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite down 22.44 (-0.25%) to 9,058.65
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 35.43 (-0.24%) to
S&P 500 down 4.71 (-0.30%) to 1,554
Nasdaq Composite Index down 19.86 (-0.61%) to 3,234.33
Nikkei 225 Index up 1.35%
Hang Seng Index down 0.14%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.29%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.80%
DAX down 1.02%
CAC 40 down 1.66%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 2.35 (-0.02%) at
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 14.64 (-0.27%) to
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 17.90 (-0.20%) to
(+) ACAD (+29%) Shares hit new year highs after the
biopharmaceutical company presented results from its pivotal Phase
III -020 Study with pimavanserin in patients with Parkinson's
disease psychosis at the Emerging Science session of the 65th
American Academy of Neurology (
) Annual Meeting.
(+) MLHR (+8.4%) Shares rise to new 52-week highs after the
interior furnishings company reported late Wednesday Q3 sales of
$423.5 mln, vs. the analyst consensus of $437.6 mln on Capital IQ.
Adjusted EPS was $0.32, vs. estimates of $0.28 per share.
(+) GEVO (+8.5%) Stock jumps after the company confirmed
yesterday's chatter that the U.S. District Court in Wilmington,
Delaware ruled that the company did not infringe on a Butamax
Advanced Biofuels LLC patent for a method to commercially produce
(-) SCHL (-14.5%) Shares slide after the company reported a Q3
loss of $0.63 per share, which includes one time items and may not
be comparable to the Capital IQ consensus of $0.39 loss per share.
Revenues were $380.5 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $384.20
(-) CIMT (-13.7%) Shares are under pressure after the company
was informed, last week, of a case of progressive multifocal
leukoencephalopathy in a 75 year old male patient from the UK with
myelofibrosis treated with the company's ruxolitinib.
(-) JBL (-5%) Selling takes hold after company reported late
Wednesday that Q2 core EPS was $0.53, vs. the analyst consensus of
$0.54 per share on Capital IQ. Revenue was $4.4 bln, vs.
expectations of $4.38 bln.