U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open after yesterday's
sharp decline, but an expected strong bounce-back hasn't happened
due to disappointing weekly jobless numbers. The Labor Department
reported that weekly jobless claims climbed to a four-month high,
taking the wind out of the sails of a solid 70 point gain for the
Dow to start the day. The S&P 500 is hanging on to small gains
at midday, while the Nasdaq is a laggard, trading slightly in the
The number of people who applied for new unemployment benefits
jumped 28,000 to 385,000 for the week ended March 30. Economists
surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted claims would fall to 350,000.
The number, however, may be higher due to seasonal quirks related
to the Easter holiday and spring break. The average of new claims
in the last four weeks rose by 11,250 to 354,250 to mark a
Overseas, the Bank of Japan announced aggressive easing measures
to help boost its ailing economy, sending the value of the yen
sharply lower. The move was made to stem the country's growing
deflationary conditions, leading to a 2.2% gain for the Nikkei
Index. Other regional exchanges edged slightly lower.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept monetary
policy unchanged, however, and most European bourses are trading
close to 1% lower.
After hours Thursday, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen
will address the Society of American Business Editors and Writers
on the subject of U.S. banks. The event starts at 5 p.m. Eastern
Following that speech, investors will be turning their attention
towards Friday's monthly jobs reports after private payroll
processor ADP on Wednesday showed just 158,000 private-sector jobs
were created in March. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch forecast
a net 190,000 increase in jobs in Friday's report.
Commodities have struggled to rebound from yesterday's
bloodbath, with oil futures continuing to fall. Crude oil was last
quoted down $1.73 at $92.72 a barrel. Natural gas was up $0.022 at
$3.922 per million BTUs.
After plunging yesterday, gold was down an additional $6.70 to
$1546.80 at midday. Silver inched up $0.03 to $26.80 per ounce.
Copper was up $0.025 to $3.355.
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite up 19.87 (+0.22%) to 9,003.27
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 12.14 (+0.08%) to 14,562.49
S&P 500 up 2.85 (+0.18%) to 1,556.94
Nasdaq Composite Index down 4.28 (-0.13%) to 3,214.32
Nikkei 225 Index up 2.21%
Hang Seng Index down 0.14%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.12%
FTSE 100 Index down 1.06%
DAX down 0.78%
CAC 40 down 0.85%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES:
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 48.44 (-0.37%) at
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) up 32.57 (+0.60%) to
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 7.13 (-0.08%) to
(+) CBMX (+19.1%) Shares soar after the company reported
preliminary quarterly growth in prenatal testing volumes of 124%
for the first quarter.
(+) CLRX (+26.7%) Stock surges after the firm announces it has
formed a partnership with Belgium company OncoDNA in molecular
diagnostics, its first partnership outside the US.
(+) ALLT (+5.8%, from near year lows) Issue rises after the
company secured a $6.5 million order from a Tier-1 mobile operator
in EMEA for Intelligent Steering and Value-Added Service (VAS)
Licenses. The order is a licensing expansion of an existing Service
(-) MIND (-6.2%) Shares skid in the wake of company's reported
Q4 earnings of $0.26 per diluted share, missing analyst estimates
of $0.39 per share, and compared to earnings of $0.77 per diluted
share the year prior. Revenues for the quarter were $28.4 million,
below analyst estimates of $29.10 million, and lower compared to
$37.0 million in Q4 2011.
(-) ADUS (-2.2%) Stock gets hit after Oppenheimer downgraded the
issue to Market Perform from Outperform.
(-) CPWR (-3.8%) Shares lose ground after the company announced
late Wednesday that it expects Q4 EPS of $0.05 to $0.06 per share
and revenue in the range of $237 million to $241 million, vs. the
analyst consensus of $0.16 per share on revenue of $273 million,
according to Capital IQ.