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Market Chatter: U.S. Stocks Lower as Market Digests Jobs, Earnings Numbers; Apple Breaches $400, Hits New 52-Week Low

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 4/18/2013 12:10:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AAPL;GOOG;IBM;PEP;VZ

Despite futures indicators pointing to a modestly higher open, U.S. equities quickly reversed course soon after the opening bell, with the Dow experiencing an 85 point downdraft. A narrow miss on the domestic jobs front, coupled with a slew of both earnings news and economic data points, has created whipsaw conditions at mid-day, with the big three U.S. stock indexes' attempt to fight back from their lows meeting stout resistance.

On the all-important jobs front, the Labor Department announced that the number of people who applied for new unemployment benefits last week rose by 4,000 to 352,000. According to a MarketWatch compiled forecast, economists expected claims would total 346,000. The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, edged up by 2,750 to 361,250, a two-month high, but near its lowest level in five years.

The Philadelphia Fed number, which measures business among U.S. manufacturers in the Philadelphia region, fell to 1.3 from 2.0 in March, with the index for new orders dipping to -1.0 in April from 0.5 in March. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected the index to rise to 4.0.

Corporate earnings have been mostly solid, with Pepsi ( PEP ) and Verizon ( VZ ) announcing positive results. Both issues recorded new 52-week highs earlier in the session as a result.

In individual stock news of note, beleaguered shares of tech goliath Apple ( AAPL ) have touched a new 52-week low of $393.56, with selling exacerbated after a breach of technical and psychological support at the $400 level.

Market participants will have many more significant earnings reports to digest after the closing bell, with heavyweight tech issues Google ( GOOG ), International Business Machines ( IBM ) and Microsoft (MSFT) slated to release their latest results.

European stocks are attempting to recover from settling at 2013 closing lows on Wednesday, but the indexes of most bourses are hovering near flat. Asian markets, meanwhile, ended mostly lower hit by plunging commodities prices.

The hard hit commodities complexes was rebounding slightly, with oil adding $0.82, at $87.50 a barrel, following notable weakness in prices last week. Natural gas continued its recent bull run, up $0.174 at $4.388 per million BTUs.

Silver was up $.058, to $23.365 per ounce. Copper was flat at $3.2025.

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

NYSE Composite down 16.19 (-0.18%) to 8.932.16

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 56.53 (-0.39%) to 14,562.06

S&P 500 down 7.09 (-.046%) to 1,544.92

Nasdaq Composite Index down 26.72 (-0.83%) to 3,177.95

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 1.22%.

Hang Seng Index down 1.26%.

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.19%.

FTSE 100 up 0.03%.

DAX down 0.17%.

CAC 40 up 0.27%.

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) up 77.54 (+0.62%) at 12,515.95

NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 19.17 (-0.35%) to 5,424.802

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 38.61 (-0.42%) to 9,071.83

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+ ) SIFY (+4.9%) Shares rallied after the company reports revenue for the year ended March 31, 2013 was INR 8570 million, up 11.3% from year ago revenue of INR 7698 million. Net Profit was INR 477 million, up from a net loss of INR 385 million for the previous year.

(+) THRX (+15.6%, hit new 52-week high) Stock surged to new 52-week high of $33.31 in morning trade after the company said late Wednesday a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended the full agency approved the company's inhaler for treating chronic lung disease. The FDA is expected to announce its decision on the Breo Ellipta inhaler by May 12.

(+) PTGI (+22.6%) Issue jumped following the company's after-hours report that it has sold BLACKIRON Data ULC (BLACKIRON Data) to Rogers Communications Inc. for approximately CAD$200 million.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) UNXL (-11.2%) Shares tumbled after the company announced a $38 million public offering of stock at $32 per share.

(-) EXAS (-21.7%, his new 52-week low) Stock plunged to a new 52-week low of $6.93 after the company said preliminary analysis shows that the company's Cologuard colorectal cancer screening test met or exceeded all primary and secondary endpoints of its recently completed DeeP-C pivotal clinical trial.

(-) NOK (- 10.9%) Issue takes hit after the company reported a Q1 loss of EUR272 million, down from a year ago loss of EUR928 million, and less than Street estimates of a loss of EUR434 million. Sales were EUR5.85 billion, down from EUR7.35 billion last year, according to a Dow Jones Newswire report.