Mid-Day Update: Most Market Indices Turn Lower Again In Recent Minutes as Stock Fight to Maintain Direction
U.S. stocks are mixed at mid-day, with the major indices for equities see-sawing between small gains and losses as traders weigh the impact of future stimulus efforts by leaders of the world's largest economies.
Group of Seven finance chiefs are meeting near London this weekend to discuss prospective measures to shore up the global recovery, with participants also likely talking about the role of central banks, including the Bank of Japan given its aggressive monetary policies in recent weeks.
Most industry sectors in the S&P 500 are narrowly lower this afternoon although shares of healthcare and consumer discretionary companies are maintaining their early gains. Energy and materials stocks are sharply lower with fresh declines for crude oil and metal futures.
Market consensus appears to point to central banks continuing with their easy-money and other stimulus measures for the foreseeable future as the world's economies continue to move forward by fits and starts. The Group of Seven talks are not expected to produce any significant policy announcements with a Canadian finance official telling Bloomberg News earlier this week the group may not issue a formal communique at the end of the weekend meetings.
Nevertheless, recent moves by the Bank of Japan and the impact they have had on global currencies is expected to generate considerable discussion. The U.S. dollar breached the 100 yen mark late yesterday for the first time in over four years as the yen has dropped sharply in relation to other currencies since the new government took charge in March vowing to bring an end to the country's two-decade stagnation, primarily by flooding the economy with money.
U.S. stocks yesterday fell for the first time this week after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said he favors scaling back the central bank's monthly $85 billion in bond purchases as early as the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting later this month. The FOMC last week said it will maintain its asset-purchase program until the unemployment rate shows significant improvement.
Commodities are mostly lower, with crude oil for June delivery sliding $2.47 - or over 2.5% - to $93.92 per barrel while June natural gas is off 2 cents to $3.97 per 1 mln BTU. June gold is down 3.25%, sliding $47.80 to $1,420.80 per ounce. July silver is off 65 cents to $23.26 per ounce while July copper is down a penny to $3.33 per pound.
Among energy ETFs , the U.S. Oil Fund is down 0.70 cents to $33.47 and the US Natural Gas Fund is down 9 cents to $21.39. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF is down 77 cents to $29.08 and the SPDR Gold Shares ETF is down $3.15 to $137.66. The iShares Silver Trust is down 36 cents to $22.53.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 7.19 (-0.08%) to 9,402.04
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 38.59 (-0.26%) to 15,044.03
S&P 500 down 1.92 (-0.12%) to 1,624.75
Nasdaq Composite Index up 8.50 (+0.25%) to 3,417.67
Nikkei 225 Index up 2.93%
Hang Seng Index up 0.47%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.62%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.49%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.82%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.09%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.39%
(+) UNIS, (+60% from near year lows) Reports Q1 adjusted net loss of $0.12 per share, $0.03 better than its year-ago net loss and beating analyst forecasts for the quarter by $0.02 per share. Revenue for the medical device firm was down 46.2% year over year to $700,000, trailing the $2.61 mln in quarterly revenue Wall Street was expecting.
(+) MCP, (+19%) Posts adjusted $0.15 per share Q1 net loss, reversing an $0.18 per share adjusted profit during the same quarter last year but beating analyst projections by $0.16 per share. Revenue increased 9% over year-ago levels to $146.4 mln, also beating expectations by $10.8 mln.
(+) CCIX, (14%, hit new year highs) Adjusted Q1 GPS grows 54% from the year-ago quarter to $0.37, beating analyst forecasts by $0.08 per share. Sales rose 0.9% to $222.5 mln, in-line with estimates. The industrial cable company also doubled its quarterly dividend to $0.04 per share, payable May 31.
(-) PTIE, (-48%, nearer year lows) Said Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) is reassessing its partnership with the smaller drug-maker on development of an experimental painkiller formulated to limit abuse, citing regulatory delays and rising costs. A third partner, Durect Corp. ( DRRX ) is down over 40%, having also gone close to year lows.
(-) AFFY, (-28.7%) Warns it soon may be forced to shut down or begin more restructuring activities through a bankruptcy filing. Specifically, it said unless Takeda - its partner developing Omontys - can quickly determine the cause and rectify the hypersensitivy problems with the anemia drug prompting the voluntary recall in February, it will soon run out of money.
(-) OPTR, (-16.8%) R.W. Baird lowers rating for the drug-maker to Neutral from Outperform in a new research note today. Price target was maintained at $16 a share.