The U.S. equity markets' assault on new multi-year highs has
been put on hold after more Euro troubles emerged to scare
investors and traders over the weekend. Also, today's U.S. December
factory production data missed analyst expectations. Up until
today, U.S. stock indexes had steadily surged, with the S&P
index getting to near its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09. The
Dow had soared above 14,000 points, its highest level since October
Markets appear to be reacting mainly to disturbing headlines out
of Europe. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing serious
corruption allegations. Over the weekend both Rajoy and members of
his political party were accused of accepting secret payments.
Meanwhile, in Italy, regulators are investigating derivative
deals conducted by several financial concerns, including the
world's oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Pasci di Siena, causing a
precipitous slide in their stock prices, and triggering trading
halts in several major financial issues.
Adding to the selling pressure, U.S. December factory orders
rose only 1.8%, below the 2.4% increase expected by the
Briefing.com consensus. The Euro-turmoil has led to a rally in the
U.S. dollar, exacerbating the negative market tone, putting
downward pressure on the open market price of gold as well.
European stocks were slumping on the bad news out of Spain and
Italy, with all of the major bourses in the region suffering losses
of 1.5% or greater. Asian markets traded in mixed fashion, posting
modest gains or slight losses.
Commodity prices were mixed, with oil's ascent toward the $100
per barrel mark stymied, down $1.20 to $96.57 a barrel. Natural gas
bucked the tide, rising $0.026 to $3.37 per million BTUs.
After slumping more than $10 per ounce in early trade, gold
futures reversed course, adding $1.80 per ounce to $1,672.40, while
silver was down $0.178 to $31.78 per ounce. Copper was down $0.045
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite down 94.76 (-1.06%) to 8,870.36
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 116 (-0.83%) to 13,893
S&P 500 down 13 (-0.87%) to 1,500
Nasdaq Composite Index down 35 (-1.10%) to 3,144
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.61%
Hang Seng Index down 0.16%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.37%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.53%
DAX down 2.25%
CAC 40 down 2.82%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 190.28 (-1.41%) at
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 69.25 (-1.27%) to
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 71.41 (-0.84%) to
(+) FTR (+1%) Weekend Barron's story said the telecom company,
which sports a large dividend but troubled business model, could
lure investors shifting into stocks from bonds, according to
(+) PC (+11.5%) Company posted surprise Q3 net profit of 61 bln
yen ($662 mln), versus analyst estimates for a loss of 17 bln yen.
Sales fell 8% from the previous-year period to 1.8 trillion yen and
also announced Friday that it is dissolving its alliance with
(+) RMTI (+1%, but well off day highs) Shares hold on to gains
after surging 25% pre-market when the company reported that its
PRIME clinical study of Soluble Ferric Pyrophosphate the company's
investigational iron-delivery drug currently in Phase 3 clinical
studies for the treatment of iron deficiency in hemodialysis
patients, has achieved its primary endpoint.
(-) TS (-4.6%, but still at high end of 52 week range)
Downgraded to Neutral from Buy by analysts at UBS.
(-) MCY (-5.9%)Shares fall to lower end of their 52-week range
of $36.01 - $46.04, after the company said it lost $0.32 per share
in Q4, net. On an operating basis, it lost $0.17 per share. Both
are down from profits a year ago.
(-) HLF(- 4.5%) The New York Post reported the company is the
subject of a Federal Trade Commission inquiry.
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