Wall Street Coasts From Rally; Lower on Econ Data, Corporate Earnings

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U.S. stocks drifted lower Thursday, crimping the rally that pushed indexes close to record levels. Investors are sizing-up mixed economic data along with a myriad of earnings results and corporate news. Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve will release data on consumer credit for December later Thursday.

Initial claims came in at 366,000, ahead of the 360,000 consensus, but down from 368,000 in the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Productivity fell 2%, versus estimates calling for a 1.3% fall, while unit labor costs rose 4.5%, against expectations for a rise of 3.0%.

Meanwhile, the nation's business productivity dropped below economists' expectations, down 2% in 2012's fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In corporate news, American Airlines (AMR) and US Airways ( LCC ) said they are closer to a merger agreement that would create the world's biggest airline, according to several sources Thursday morning.

Shares of Apple ( AAPL ) rose after David Einhorn, founder of the hedge fund Greenlight Capital, filed a suit against Apple for not doing its part to grow shareholder value. Einhorn noted the company's $137 million cash position, and called on tech giant to distribute $50 billion of its perpetual preferred stock with a 4% annual dividend.

Monster Worldwide ( MWW ) shares dropped after the company posted Q4 earnings in-line with estimates, but revenue just shy of the Street view. For Q1, the company is guiding for earnings in the range of $0.06 to $0.10, vs. the Street consensus of $0.09 per share.

Sprint Nextel ( S ) shares edged lower after the cell phone carrier reported a Q4 loss in-line with expectations.

Shares of Akamai Technologies ( AKAM ) plunged after the company reported a rise in net income, while revenue missed forecasts.

Shares of Blackberry (BBRY) climbed after the smartphone maker called the Canadian launch of its new Z10 smartphone its best launch ever.

Among companies reporting after the bell are LinkedIn (LNKD) Activision Blizzard (ATVI), and Coinstar (CSTR).

U.S. government bonds declined as investors move money into riskier assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, rose 1 basis point Thursday to 1.97%, keeping it close to a 10-year high.

U.S. sectors were lower across the board at mid-day. Healthcare and energy were the main losers, both down more than 1%.

Commodities were mixed at mid-day. Crude oil for March delivery was down $0.60 at $96.02 a barrel. March natural gas was down $0.059 at $3.36 per 1 million BTU.

In metals, April gold futures were up $1.60 to $1,680.40 in electronic trade. March silver was down $0.112 at $31.76 per ounce in electronic trade. March copper was down $0.002 at $3.74 per pound.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) down 107.90 (-0.77%) 13,878.62

S&P 500 (^INX) down 10.36 (-0.69%) 1,501.76

Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC) down 27.01 (-0.85%) 3,141.47

NYSE Composite (^NYA) down 70.90 (-0.79%) 8863.34

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 0.93%

Hang Seng Index down 0.34%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.66%

FTSE 100 Index down 1.06%

DAX up 0.13%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 47.78 (-0.88%) at 5,391.22

NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 154.41 (-1.16%) at 13,195.61

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 86.92 (-1.02%) at 8,436.73

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+) DV (+19.72%) Upgraded by analysts at JPMorgan Chase to Neutral from Underweight. The firm raised their target price on the stock to $28 from $22 a share.

(+) HLSS (+0.00%, below new 52-week high) Reported Q4 GAAP earnings of $0.44 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ GAAP consensus of $0.39. Revenues were $61.07 million, versus the analyst estimate of $59.32 million.

(+) MCP (+2.91%) Upgraded to Neutral from Underweight by analysts at JPMorgan Chase. The firm raised its price target on the stock to $6 from $5.

(+) MMS (+5.01%, below new 52-week high) Reported Q1 earnings of $0.63 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.56. Revenues were $286.3 million, versus the analyst estimate of $285.01 million.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) AKAM (-15.62%) Reported Q4 sales of $378 million, below estimates of $381.30 million. Earnings of $0.54 topped estimates by $0.04. The company also extended its $150 million share buyback program to February 1.

(-) CYS (-4.47%, near 52-week low) Reported Q4 net loss of $41.4 million, or $0.24 per share, compared to net income of $241.0 million, or $1.46 per share. Core earnings plus drop income was $67.7 million, or $0.39 per share, compared with $78.1 million, or $0.48 per share in the prior quarter.

(-) ROLL (-6.54%, but near 52-week high) Reported Q3 earnings of $0.53, below estimates of $0.59, and lower than earnings per share of $0.54 in Q3 2011. Revenues of $96.3 million, below estimates of $100.4 million, higher than Q3 2011 revenues of $95.1 million. The company also approved a $50 million share repurchase program of ROLL's common stock, effective immediately.

(-) PSMI (-13.39%, but above new 52-week low) Downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , AKAM , LCC , MWW , S

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